The Navy stated explosives specialists boarded the ship to evaluate the injury, together with a 30-inch-wide (76-centimeter) gap punched in its aspect, and to gather particles and bomb residue. The proof was taken to a lab on the headquarters of the U.S. Fifth Fleet within the Gulf Arab nation of Bahrain.
Navy investigators concluded that the drone used was an Iranian Shahed-136, the identical sort of bomb-carrying drone Iran has provided to Russia in its battle on Ukraine. Iranian drones have been utilized by Yemeni rebels to assault Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates earlier this yr, the Navy stated.
“The Iranian assault on a business tanker transiting worldwide waters was deliberate, flagrant and harmful, endangering the lives of the ship’s crew and destabilizing maritime safety within the Center East,” stated Vice Adm. Brad Cooper, commander of U.S. Naval Forces Central Command.
The Pacific Zircon is operated by Singapore-based Japanese Pacific Transport, which is an organization in the end owned by Israeli billionaire Idan Ofer. Israeli and U.S. officers stated on the time of the assault that they suspected Iran was behind it.
Iranian officers haven’t commented on the assault or allegations that Iran was concerned.
Final yr, a suspected Iranian drone strike hit the Israeli-associated oil tanker Mercer Avenue off Oman, killing two individuals onboard. In latest months, Iran has lashed out at its perceived enemies overseas amid monthslong nationwide protests calling for the overthrow of its ruling clerics.