Unconfirmed Iranian media report that the Iran-flagged container vessel ‘Shahr E Kord’ has suffered an explosion while operating in the Eastern Mediterranean off Haifa.
According to Dryad Global, unverified imagery indicates that an explosion took place within one or more central containers in the forward portion of the vessel.
Imagery also shows crew members with firefighting equipment, as well as the debris of a destroyed container. More images show significant signs of overpressure and peeling, indicative of a possibility that the explosion originated from within the container.
Further analysis also shows that the ship sialed through the Bab Al Mandab strait between the 2nd and 3d of March where it is assessed to have called alongside the Iranian-flagged Saviz.
The later is an Iranian flagged vessel, suspected of involvement with IRGC operations and activity within Yemen and the wider Red Sea.
More specifically, Dryad Global explains that after transiting through the Suez Canal Shahr E Kord transits NE and on the 10th of March decreases her speed, 72nm WNW of Haifa, before drastically altering its course by 180°. The ship then proceeds SW at 6-7kn before changing its course again, proceeding in its original direction.
This latest incident comes in the context of increased tensions between Israel and Iran following two previous maritime incidents. In fact, on the 25h of February the Israeli owned vehicle carrier Helios Ray suffered an explosion off the coast of Oman, for which Iran was accused of responsibility.
Additionally, Israel Environmental Protection Minister Gila Gamliel accused Iran of “environmental terrorism” after an Oil Spill offshore Israel on the 1st and 2nd of February, with Iran denying any involvement.
According to Iranian media, the alleged attack against the Shahr E Kord remains uncertain at this time.