Israeli-owned ship docked in Dubai after mysterious blast

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — An Israeli-owned cargo ship that suffered a mysterious explosion within the Gulf of Oman got here to Dubai’s port for repairs Sunday, days after the blast that revived safety issues in Mideast waterways amid heightened tensions with Iran.

Related Press journalists noticed the hulking Israeli-owned MV Helios Ray sitting at dry dock amenities at Dubai’s Port Rashid. Though the crew was unhurt in the blast, the vessel sustained two holes on its port facet and two on its starboard facet simply above the waterline, in accordance with American protection officers.

It stays unclear what brought about the blast, however the incident comes amid sharply rising rigidity between the U.S. and Iran over its unraveling 2015 nuclear deal. Iran has sought to stress President Joe Biden’s administration to grant the sanctions reduction it obtained below the accord with world powers that former President Donald Trump deserted.

From a distance, Related Press journalists couldn’t instantly see any harm on the port or starboard sides of the ship, though the dock blocked the view right down to the waterline. The ship was anchored close to Dubai’s storied floating lodge, the Queen Elizabeth 2. An Emirati coast guard vessel was seen crusing behind the ship, with Dubai police and Emirati armed forces automobiles parked close by.

Emirati officers didn’t instantly acknowledge or reply to requests for touch upon the vessel docking within the nation.

The blast on the ship, a Bahamian-flagged roll-on, roll-off automobile cargo vessel, recalled a string of assaults on international oil tankers in 2019 that the U.S. Navy blamed on Iran. Tehran denied any position within the suspected assaults, which occurred close to the Strait of Hormuz, a key oil chokepoint.

Israeli ambassador to the U.S. and U.N., Gilad Erdan, advised Israel’s Military Radio on Sunday that “it was no secret that the Iranians are attempting to hurt Israeli targets” and alleged the explosion on the ship bore the hallmarks of different Iranian assaults.

The Helios Ray had discharged vehicles at numerous ports within the Persian Gulf earlier than making its method out of the Center East towards Singapore. The blast hit because the ship was crusing from the Saudi port Dammam out of the Gulf of Oman, forcing it to show to Dubai, within the United Arab Emirates, for inspection.

Iranian authorities haven’t publicly commented on the ship. The nation’s hard-line Kayhan every day, whose editor-in-chief was appointed by Supreme Chief Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, alleged the Helios Ray was “presumably” on an “espionage” mission within the area, with out providing any proof to help the declare. The Sunday report speculated the ship might have been “trapped in an ambush by a department of resistance axis,” referring to Iranian proxies within the area.

Iran additionally has blamed Israel for a current sequence of assaults, together with a mysterious explosion final summer season that destroyed a complicated centrifuge meeting plant at its Natanz nuclear facility and the killing of Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, a prime Iranian scientist who based the Islamic Republic’s army nuclear program twenty years in the past.

Iran’s repeated vows to avenge Fakhrizadeh’s killing have raised alarms in Israel, notably because the Gulf sees a rise in visitors from Israel following its normalization offers with the UAE and Bahrain.

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Related Press writers Jon Gambrell and Malak Harb in Dubai and Ilan Ben Zion in Jerusalem contributed to this report.

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