Israeli vehicle carrier hit by explosion in Gulf of Oman

Israeli-owned vehicle carrier Helios Ray (IMO 9690547), was hit by an explosion in the Gulf of Oman overnight on Thursday February 25th/Friday February 26th. A US defence official said that the explosion had left holes in both sides of the vessel’s hull. The cause was not immediately clear.

The vehicle-carrier ship is owned by Tel-Aviv based Ray Shipping through a company registered in the Isle of Man, according to a UN shipping database.

“Investigations are ongoing. Vessel and crew are safe,” the United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations (UKMTO) said in an advisory notice on Friday. It urged vessels in the area to exercise caution.

In Washington DC the US defence official told Reuters that the ship was hit by a blast above the water line that ripped holes in both sides of its hull.

Israeli broadcaster Kan named the ship’s owner as Rami Ungar and quoted him as saying that “The damage is two holes, diameter approximately 1.5 metres, but it is not yet clear to us if this was caused by missile fire or mines that were attached to the ship. There is no damage to the engine, and no casualties among the crew. We have no idea whether this was an incident that was part of the tensions between Iran and the US and whether there is a link to the fact the ship’s owner is Israeli”.

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

Maritime security firm Dryad Global said the ship was en route to Singapore from Dammam in Saudi Arabia. “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.

The vessel is managed by Stamco Ship Management, Refinitiv ship tracking data showed. The ship has set Dubai as its current destination. As of February 27th it was at Dubai Anchorage.

2015-built, 71,177 gt Helios Ray is owned by Helios Ray Ltd care of manager Ray Shipping of Tel Aviv, Israel. ISM manager is Stamco Ship management of Piraeus, Greece. It is entered with West of England (Claims Team Greece) on behalf of Helios Ray Ltd.