“Terrorist” attack on Iran container ship

An Iranian container ship has been damaged in an attack in the Mediterranean, the state-run shipping company says, adding it would take legal action to identify the perpetrators of what it called terrorism and naval piracy.

The ship, Shahre Kord, was slightly damaged by an explosive object which caused a small fire but no one on board was hurt, spokesman Ali Ghiasian said.

“Such terrorist acts amount to naval piracy and are contrary to international law on commercial shipping security, and legal action will be taken to identify the perpetrators through relevant international institutions,” he said.

The vessel was headed to Europe when the attack occurred and will leave for its destination after repairs, he added.

Two maritime security sources said initial indications were that the Iranian container ship had been intentionally targeted by an unknown source.

The incident comes two weeks after an Israeli-owned ship the MV HELIOS RAY was hit by an explosion in the Gulf of Oman.

The cause was not immediately clear, although a US defence official said the blast left holes in both sides of the vessel’s hull.

Israel accused Iran of being behind the explosion, a charge officials in Tehran denied.

On Friday, Israeli officials did not provide comment when asked if Israel was involved in the Shahre Kord incident reported by Iran.

A third maritime security source told Reuters that three other Iranian ships had been damaged in recent weeks by unknown causes when sailing through the Red Sea.

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