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UAE-bound vessel, previously Israeli-owned, attacked in Indian Ocean

Fire breaks out aboard Liberia-flagged CSAV Tyndall, formerly owned by Eyal Ofer’s Zodiac Maritime; Israeli officials believe Iran behind attack

The previously Israeli-owned CSAV TYNDALL is seen sailing near the port of Pireas, Greece, on January 15, 2021. (Screenshot: YouTube)
The previously Israeli-owned CSAV TYNDALL is seen sailing near the port of Pireas, Greece, on January 15, 2021. (Screenshot: YouTube)

A fire broke out on Saturday aboard a cargo ship, previously owned by a company belonging to a prominent Israeli businessman, as it sailed in the northern Indian Ocean.

According to multiple reports on Saturday, the fire was a result of an attack from an unknown source. Israeli officials believe Iran is behind the attack, according to the Ynet news site.

The ship, identified as the Liberia-flagged CSAV Tyndall, departed from the port of Jeddah in Saudi Arabia and was headed toward the Jebel Ali port in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, according to the pro-Hezbollah Lebanese TV station al-Mayadeen.

An earlier version of this report, citing Hebrew-language media, noted that the vessel was owned by Zodiac Maritime, a London-based company belonging to Israeli tycoon Eyal Ofer. The vessel was indeed previously owned by the company, but was sold several months ago.

“Following reports in the media, we can confirm that the vessel CSAV Tyndall is not owned or operated by Zodiac Maritime, which is a UK ship management company,” the firm said in a statement released Saturday.

There were no injuries reported aboard the ship, which suffered minor damage and continued on its journey after the incident.

Unnamed sources told al-Mayadeen that the fire broke out aboard the vessel after it was struck by an unknown weapon.

The ship CSAV TYNDALL was sailing from Saudi Arabia to the UAE, on July 3, 2021. (MarineTraffic.com screenshot)

Israeli sources cited by local media Saturday said they suspect that arch-foe Iran was behind the alleged attack, perhaps in response to the targeting of an Iranian centrifuge production site last month.

In recent months, Israel and Iran have accused each other of attacking a number of merchant ships, damaging them with explosives. The vessels in each case were only lightly damaged and there were no injuries in the incidents.

On February 26, a blast struck the Israeli-owned MV Helios Ray, a Bahamian-flagged cargo ship, in the Gulf of Oman. Then-prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu accused Iran of attacking the ship. Iran swiftly denied the charge, but experts say the attack bears hallmarks of previous attacks ascribed to Tehran.

Another Israeli-owned vessel reportedly came under missile fire in the Gulf of Oman in late March, possibly by Iranian forces.

The Wall Street Journal reported in March that Israel has targeted at least 12 ships bound for Syria, most of them transporting Iranian oil, with mines and other weapons.

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