Drone Attack Tanker: Exclusive Photos of Pacific Zircon Damage


CNN has obtained exclusive images showing damage and wreckage from a drone attack on an oil tanker off the coast of Oman on Tuesday night.

The two photos, provided by a Western defense official, show a hole in what appears to be the hull of the Singapore-owned, Israeli-owned Zircon Pacific flying the Liberian flag, as well as what appear to be the remains of a crashed drone. next to the evidence labels. The charred remains of Flight 229 are visible on its side.

CNN cannot independently verify the authenticity of the images.

On Wednesday, US and Israeli officials pointed the finger at Iran – identifying the drone as a HESA Shahed 136 similar to the Iranian self-detonating aircraft Russia is using in Ukraine.

The accident caused no injuries, according to Eastern Pacific Shipping, the company operating on the ship. It also did not cause significant damage, according to a US military official.

We are in contact with the ship and there are no reports of injuries or contamination. Eastern Pacific Shipping said Wednesday that all crew members are safe and accounted for. “There is some minor damage to the hull but no spillage of cargo or ingress of water.”

A British Ministry of Defense spokesman said in a statement that a British Royal Navy frigate, HMS Lancaster, provided assistance to the crew of the Pacific Zircon after learning of the accident.

On Wednesday, US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan said Iran was likely behind a drone attack, saying in a statement that while “there is no justification for this attack” it is “the latest in a pattern of such actions and broader destabilizing activities.” to stabilize.”

“Upon reviewing available information, we are confident that Iran likely carried out this attack using a drone, a lethal capability that it is increasingly using directly and through proxies throughout the Middle East and is spreading to Russia for use in Ukraine,” Sullivan said. .

He warned that this measure threatens international navigation, trade and “the freedom of navigation through this vital waterway”.

On Wednesday, US Central Command said a “Shahid series one-way attack drone” had struck the ship.

This undated photo made available by Nabil Hashemi shows the Liberian-flagged oil tanker Pacific Zircon, operated by Singapore-based Eastern Pacific Shipping at Jebel Ali Port, in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, in 2015.

“This unmanned aerial attack on a civilian vessel in this dangerous fjord demonstrates once again the destabilizing nature of Iran’s malign activity in the region,” General Michael “Eric” Korella, commander of US Central Command, said in a statement.

An Israeli official told CNN on Wednesday that the drone attack was an “Iranian provocation in the Gulf” linked to the World Cup, which kicks off in Qatar on Sunday.

“It is not an attack on Israel,” the official said. “It’s the same thing they usually do in the Gulf, trying to destabilize and basically influence World Cup events.”

The official asked not to be named due to the sensitivity of the situation.

The weapon and target fit the pattern of attacks linked to Iran in the past. On July 30, 2021, an armed drone attacked a cargo ship named Mercer Street off the coast of Oman, killing two. That ship was linked to an Israeli billionaire.

Football teams and supporters from 32 countries, including Iran, gather in Qatar ahead of the World Cup.

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