Iran Attacks Israeli-Owned Tanker in Arabian Sea

Shahed-136 drones on display at a parade marking the 44th anniversary of the Iranian revolution, February 11 (UANI)

Published Feb 19, 2023 2:17 PM by The Maritime Executive

On Sunday, the government of Israel accused Iran of carrying out an attempted attack on an Israeli-linked tanker in the Arabian Sea. 

On the night of February 10, the Aframax tanker Campo Square was under way about 300 nm off the coast of Oman when she was struck by an "airborne object," shipmanager Eletson confirmed in a statement. The vessel sustained only minor damage and the crew was unharmed. She was in ballast on a transit at the time of the strike, and no pollution was reported. The authorities were informed of the attack, and the ship continued on its commercial voyage, Eletson said. 

According to the BBC, Western security officials believe that the attack involved Iranian naval vessels and a Shahed 136 drone, a common "suicide" drone model used by Iranian proxy forces in Yemen and Russia. A U.S. military official told BBC reporter Nafiseh Kohnavard that the "attack was carried out by Iran itself."

Campo Square is owned by Zodiac Maritime, the holding company of Israeli shipping magnate Eyal Ofer. Vessels linked to the Ofer family have been targeted multiple times by suspected Iranian drone and missile attacks in the past, including the strikes on the tanker Pacific Zircon, the tanker Mercer Street and the boxship CSAV Tyndall. 

On Sunday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu echoed the claim that the strike was an Iranian attack. 

"On the Iranian front, our efforts are unceasing for the simple reason that Iran’s acts of aggression are unceasing. Last week, Iran again attacked an oil tanker in the Persian Gulf and struck at the international freedom of navigation," said Netanyahu in a weekly address.

On Saturday night, five were killed and over a dozen people were injured in an Israeli airstrike on an Iranian military complex in Damascus, Syria, according to Reuters. Israel does not confirm or comment on its air operations over Syria; Iran has long maintained a military presence in Syria to support the government of President Bashar al-Assad, and Iran's security services use the Syrian road network to funnel weapons to Hezbollah, Iran's proxy force in Lebanon.