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Iran blamed for drone attack on Zodiac tanker

Iran is the main suspect in the drone attack on the Zodiac Maritime-operated product tanker Mercer Street off the coast of Oman in the Arabian Sea, which killed two people.

Iran on Sunday denied it was involved in the attack on the Liberian-flagged, Japanese-owned ship despite being blamed by Israel, the US and the UK.

“Upon review of the available information, we are confident that Iran conducted this attack, which killed two innocent people, using one-way explosive UAVs,” US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement.

The UK Foreign Secretary, Dominic Raab, also issued a statement: “We believe this attack was deliberate, targeted, and a clear violation of international law by Iran. UK assessments have concluded that it is highly likely that Iran attacked the Mercer Street in international waters off Oman on 29 July using one or more unmanned aerial vehicles.”

The US Navy, which was escorting the tanker after the incident, said on Saturday that early investigations pointed to a drone attack.

In a statement on Friday night, Israel’s Foreign Minister, Yair Lapid, said: “Iran is not just an Israeli problem, but an exporter of terrorism, destruction and instability that affects the whole world. “We can never remain silent in the face of Iranian terrorism, which also harms freedom of navigation.”

“Such accusations are meant by Israel to divert attention from facts and are baseless,” Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh countered.

Mercer Street was travelling from Dar es Salaam to Fujairah with no cargo on board when it was attacked on July 29. The incident led to the deaths of two crewmembers – a UK national and a Romanian national. It follows the attack on the Zodiac Maritime-linked containership CSAV Tyndall, which was recently sold by the Ofer family.

Adis Ajdin

Adis is an experienced news reporter with a background in finance, media and education. He has written across the spectrum of offshore energy and ocean industries for many years and is a member of International Federation of Journalists. Previously he had written for Navingo media group titles including Offshore Energy, Subsea World News and Marine Energy.


  1. This is not even-handed treatment. In the balance are the number of Iranian-owned, managed, chartered and flagged ships that have been hit in comparable numbers in the same area. Of course only Israel could be responsible. What is happening here? Well, we all witnessed Bibi Netanyahu’s vain, not to say desperate, attempts to provoke, persuade or strong arm the US into attacking Iran. Those who remember General Wesley Clark’s 7 countries in 5 years will know what is behind this. Iran is no.7, the regional power by far.

    Remember Obama wanted to “pivot to Asia”? But first he had to bring the Middle East under control, before handing it over to it’s regional proxy, Israel? In theory Israel would dominate the Middle East while the US reconfigured it’s forces out of Afghanistan, Iraq and even Syria, and sent them to confront China, it’s chosen future enemy, guaranteeing the weapons manufacturers limitless sales into a dream-filled future.

    Well, the Pentagon is running way behind schedule. It took too long to subjugate parts of the Middle East, and in Syria it is blocked by Russia. It’s recent dumping of Ukraine is a bell-wether. Russia is already shooting down 80-90% of Israeli missile aimed at Iranian assets in Syria. The first manned jet can’t be far behind. If Putin believes sinking a British destroyer will not start WW3, you can imagine how relaxed he is about shooting down an IDF F-16 attacking Syria.

    But the fly in the ointment was Iran, number 7 on the list and still militarily strong. Israel could not beat Iran in a war for lran’s survival. It cannot use it’s nuclear weapons on a first-use basis. It has already been pointed out that Israel’s nukes are militarily useless. They could only use them in retaliation for an Iranian strike that will never come.

    The lranians are too cagey to start a war themselves(it has not attacked outside it’s borders in 250 years), which would bring the US down on themselves, but are quite content to carry on a limited tit-for-tat conflict in the Persian Gulf, as they watch, with a great deal of amusement, the IDF having to take on Russia’s very powerful air defence systems in Syria. The free range Israel has enjoyed over the shattered Middle East states has met it’s nemesis. At last the swagger has gone out of Israel’s bantam strut. Today Russia was confirming in the media that it would continue shooting down Israeli missiles if they are launched against Syria.

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