WASHINGTON (Agencies): In a significant development, the Pentagon has openly accused Iran of orchestrating a drone attack on a Japanese-owned chemical tanker near the Indian coast. This marks the first time the U.S. has directly implicated Iran in ship targeting since the commencement of Israel’s conflict with Hamas.
The incident unfolded in the Indian Ocean around 10 am local time on Saturday, causing no casualties on the MV Chem Pluto vessel. The Pentagon confirmed that a drone, allegedly “fired from Iran,” struck the ship, flying under a Liberian flag and operated by a Dutch entity. Despite the attack, the vessel, owned by a Japanese company, is reportedly continuing its journey to India.
The U.S. military is actively communicating with MV Chem Pluto as it proceeds toward its destination, situated 200 nautical miles off the coast of India. Fortunately, no U.S. Navy vessels were nearby at the time of the incident.
The chemical tanker’s ownership has drawn attention, with reports indicating an affiliation with Israel. The Dutch company operating the vessel has connections to Israeli shipping tycoon Idan Ofer, as per The Wall Street Journal. Last month, a similar incident involved an Israeli-owned cargo ship in the Indian Ocean, allegedly targeted by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.
The Indian navy swiftly responded to the incident, dispatching an aircraft and a warship to ensure the safety of the vessel and its crew. Despite the severity of the attack, there has been no immediate claim of responsibility, leaving questions about the motives behind the drone strike.