Missiles strike Israeli ship transporting cars off the coast of UAE

A commercial vessel owned by an Israeli firm was attacked off the coast of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in Gulf waters, pro-Iran media and an Israeli television channel reported.

Israel’s Channel 12 quoted unnamed Israeli officials as blaming arch foe Iran for the assault, which it described as a missile strike. There were no casualties and the ship continued on its course, the TV channel added, though it was “lightly damaged”.

Two maritime security sources told Reuters news agency that an Israeli ship was hit near the UAE’s Fujairah port, resulting in an explosion but that there were no casualties.

Both UAE and Israeli officials are yet to publically confirm these reports.

The incident comes a day after Tehran accused Israel of sabotaging a nuclear site, and after Iran and the United States began indirect talks in Vienna on ways to revive world powers’ 2015 nuclear deal with Tehran.

Lebanon-based Al Mayadeen television channel identified the vessel as the Hyperion.

Refinitiv ship tracking data showed the Bahamas-flagged vehicle carrier Hyperion Ray was headed to Fujairah port from Kuwait.

Unews news agency, also based in Lebanon, said the vessel was transporting cars and had been at Kuwait’s Mina Al Ahmadi port 48 hours earlier.

The United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations (UKMTO) said in an advisory notice that it was aware of a possible incident near Fujairah and that investigations were ongoing.

Last month, an Iranian container ship was damaged in an attack in the Mediterranean, two weeks after an Israeli-owned ship, the MV Helios Ray was hit by an explosion in the Gulf of Oman.