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Israeli vehicle-carrier ship hit by explosion in Gulf of Oman

Navy military exercise in the Gulf of Oman on 11 September 2020 [Iranian Army office/AFP/Getty Images]
Navy military exercise in the Gulf of Oman on 11 September 2020 [Iranian Army office/AFP/Getty Images]

A Bahamas-flagged ship, the MV HELIOS RAY, was hit by an explosion in the Gulf of Oman yesterday, Reuters reported the United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations (UKMTO) and a maritime security firm said today.

The cause of the explosion is not clear.

"Investigations are ongoing. Vessel and crew are safe," the UKMTO's advisory notice said, advising vessels in the area to exercise caution.

The incident occurred at 20:40 GMT, it said, but gave no details about a possible cause.

Maritime security firm Dryad Global said the MV HELIOS RAY was a vehicle carrier owned by Helios Ray Ltd, an Israeli firm registered in the Isle of Man. The ship was en route to Singapore from Dammam in Saudi Arabia.

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A spokesman for Israel's Transportation Ministry said it had no information about an Israeli vessel having been struck in the Gulf.

A company with the name Helios Ray Ltd is incorporated in the Isle of Man. The ship was managed by Stamco Ship Management, Refinitiv ship tracking data showed. Stamco Ship Management declined to comment when contacted by phone by Reuters.

"Whilst details regarding the incident remain unclear it remains a realistic possibility that the event was the result of asymmetric activity by Iranian military," Dryad said in a report on the incident.

Refinitiv data shows the ship has set Dubai as its current destination.

The US Navy's Bahrain-based Fifth Fleet said it was aware of the incident and monitoring the situation.

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