Alleged vessel attack reported near the volatile Strait of Hormuz

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Nov. 16 (UPI) — Singapore-based Eastern Pacific Shipping said Wednesday that one of its vessels, the product tanker Pacific Zircon, was allegedly hit by a projectile off the coast of Oman near the Persian Gulf.

Pacific Zircon, which has the numerical designation of 9539573 from the International Maritime Organization, was sailing about 150 miles off the coast of Oman when it was reportedly hit by a projectile.

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“We are in communication with the vessel and there is no reports of injuries or pollution. All crew are safe and accounted for,” Eastern Pacific stated. “There is some minor damage to the vessel’s hull but no spillage of cargo or water ingress.”

Vessel tracking data show her off the coast of Oman, near the volatile Strait of Hormuz. Reporting from The Wall Street Journal finds Pacific Zircon is Israeli-owned and was allegedly the target of an Iranian drone strike.

Iran last year was accused by Western powers of targeting the oil tanker Mercer Street (IMO 9285615) in the Gulf of Oman, killing two crew members on board. The U.S. Treasury Department, meanwhile, issued sanctions on Iranian entities for supplying Russia with some of the drones it’s using in its offense on Ukraine.

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Iran is facing a series of challenges that makes it prone to lash out. Prospects for a revival of a U.N.-backed nuclear agreement are all-but dead and the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini, allegedly killed by Iranian police for wearing her head covering improperly, has led to unprecedented protests against the clerical regime.

London-based Lloyd List Intelligence, which monitors vessel traffic, finds the vessel is still operable and sailing away from Oman. She left a port in Oman on Monday carrying a cargo of gas oil.

The incident near one of the world’s busiest shipping lanes had little impact, however, on the price of crude oil. Markets following word of the alleged attack were reacting more to data showing inflation in the British economy hit a 40-year high. The price for Brent crude oil, the global benchmark, was down around 1.5% to trade at $92.31 per barrel as of 9:30 a.m. EST.