25 February 2021, 2040UTC
44nm NW Muscat
199.9m x 35.4m
Reporting indicates that the Vehicle Carrier MV HELIOS RAY (IMO9690547) has suffered an explosion within the Gulf of Oman.
The vessel is understood to have been inbound Singapore from Dammam Saudi Arabia.
The vessel is understood to have been approximately 44nm NW Muscat when the explosion occurred. The crew are understood to be uninjured. The vessel appears to be returning to port of origin.
Whilst details regarding the incident remain unclear it remains a realistic possibility that the event was the result of asymmetric activity by Iranian military. Such activity would be commensurate with current tensions and Iranian intent to exercise forceful diplomacy through military means within its immediate area of interest.
The MV HELIOS RAY is owned by HELIOS Ltd an Israeli company registered in the Isle of Man. Tensions between Israel and Iran remain fraught, especially in light of increased signs of rapprochement between Iran and the Biden administration. Increasingly Iran is also becoming fearful of improving relations between Israel and the Gulf states. Recent reports of behind the scenes cooperation between Saudi and Israel to counter Iranian activity are likely to influence any potential Iranian activity.