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On March 12, 2021, the state-run shipping company reported that an Iranian container ship was damaged in an attack in the Mediterranean. The company added that it would take legal action to identify the perpetrators of what it called “terrorism” and naval piracy.

Shahre Kord is the name of the ship that was slightly damaged on March 10, 2021, by an explosive object which caused a small fire, but no one on board was hurt.

The spokesman for the state shipping company IRISL, Ali GHIASIAN told  Nournews: “Such terrorist acts amount to naval piracy and are contrary to international law on commercial shipping security, and legal action will be taken to identify the perpetrators through relevant international institutions”.

Such terrorist acts amount to naval piracy,” he added, identifying the ship as the Shahre Kord, and said it was traveling from Iran to Europe.

Legal proceedings will be taken to identify the perpetrators through related international bodies” GHIASIAN added.

The company official did not disclose the ship’s current location and cargo, but said: “it will continue its route after assessing and repairing the damage”.

The incident comes two weeks after an Israeli-owned ship the MV Helios Ray, was hit by an explosion in the Gulf of Oman.

The cause was not immediately clear, although a US defense official said the blast left holes in both sides of the vessel’s hull. Israel accused Iran of being behind the explosion, a charge it denied.

Israeli officials did not comment when asked if Israel was involved in the Shahre Kord incident reported by Iran.

A third maritime security source told the Reuters news agency that three other Iranian ships had been damaged in recent weeks by unknown causes when sailing through the Red Sea.

The Wall Street Journal reported that Israel has targeted at least a dozen vessels bound for Syria and mostly carrying Iranian oil out of concern that petroleum profits are “funding terrorism” in the Middle East. Israeli officials declined to comment on the report.

The Israeli navy, whose largest vessels are missile corvettes and five diesel-fuelled submarines, is most active in the Mediterranean and Red seas.

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