Photo Credit: Google Maps
The Gulf of Oman

The United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations organization reported Tuesday afternoon that a “non-piracy” incident was “currently underway” in the Gulf of Oman off the coast of the United Arab Emirates, 61 nautical miles east of Fujairah.

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Vessels transiting in the Fujairah area have been asked to take great care and not to approach the area.

Tracking data on the MarineTraffic website for two vessels lists both as being “not under command” in Gulf waters off the coast of the UAE. One of the ships is the Kamdhenu, sailing under the Flag of Cook Islands. The second vessel is the Golden Brilliant, sailing under the Flag of Singapore.

It is not clear why neither vessel is able to maneuver. According to Hebrew-language journalist Itay Blumental, a patrol vessel from the Royal Air Force of Oman has scrambled to search the area.

The connection with the tankers was cut off about two hours ago.

Last week’s drone attack on the Israeli-operated ship involved a large explosives-laden suicide drone flying hundreds of miles from land and controlled by a camera feed,” The Mirror reported.

The vessel was traveling from Dar es Salaam to Fujairah with no cargo on board, according to Zodiac Maritime when it was attacked at a location northeast of the Omani island of Masirah.

Two crew members were killed: a Romanian national and a British security man who was a military veteran. The oil tanker is operated by Israeli business mogul Eyal Ofer’s Zodiac Maritime Ltd. The owner of the vessel, which sails under the Flag of Liberia, is a Japanese national.

The drone strike, which left a huge hole on deck, is believed to have been carried out by Iran.

According to a report by The Sun newspaper< quoting The Mirror, British special forces are allegedly planning a ‘kill or capture’ mission to seize “the Iran-backed terrorists who attacked” the oil tanker.

Special Boat Service commandos and SAS specialists traveled to the Middle East this past week to investigate the attack, The Mirror reported.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken told reporters on Monday that the US is “in very close contact, in coordination, with the United Kingdom, Israel, Romania and other countries. And there will be a collective response” to Iran’s attack,” he said.

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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for Babble.com, Chabad.org and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.