The oil tanker Mercer Street had been struck by a foreign drone attack off the coast of Oman in the Arabian Sea on Thursday according to the U.S. Navy’s Fifth Fleet. A statement put out by the Fifth Fleet says “initial indications clearly point to a (drone)-style attack.” The nuclear powered aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan and guided missile destroyer USS Mitscher escorted the Mercer Street to a safe port and U.S. Navy personnel have remained on board. Two crew members onboard the Mercer Street were killed in the attack.
The U.S. Navy said explosive experts later boarded the Mercer Street with the ship’s permission and examined the damage and determined there was “clear visual evidence that an attack had occurred” but stopped short of saying who was to blame.
The Mercer Street is owned by a Japanese firm and managed by the London based Zodiac Maritime who said one of the dead crew members was from the United Kingdom and one was from Romania. The British maritime security firm Ambrey said that the U.K. crew member was one of its employees assigned tot he vessel to provide security. The ship was empty of cargo when it was attacked.
Iran has so far said they have no comment, then later denied they knew about the attack, and again later said they did not order any drone strikes.