Unconfirmed reports in the Iranian media indicate that the Iranian-flagged container vessel, Shahr E Kord, has suffered an explosion off Haifa.
There has been an explosion aboard the Iranian vessel, Shahr E Kord, reports Dryad Global. Iranian media reports suggest that the explosion occurred within one or more containers in the central forward portion of the vessel.
Imagery shows crew members with firefighting equipment and the debris of a destroyed container. The container shows clear signs of buckling and peeling paint — likely signs that the explosion occurred within the container.
The Shahr E Kord transited the Bab Al Mandab strait between 2nd and 3rd March and vessel tracking shows that she called alongside another Iranian-flagged ship, the Saviz. The Saviz is implicated with involvement with Iranian Revolutionary Guard operations within Yemen and the wider Red Sea area.
After transiting the Suez Canal, the Shahr E Kord, followed a northeasterly course, and on 10th March, at 04:16 UTC, decreased her speed 72nm WNW of Haifa. She then drastically altered course by 180° and then proceeded SW at 6-7kn, before altering course again at 08:10 UTC. She then resumed her original course and speed.
There are increased tensions in the region following two previous maritime incidents. On 25th February, the Israeli-owned vehicle carrier Helios Ray suffered an explosion and in recent weeks, an oil spill off the coast of Israel has wrought devastation to the country’s Mediterranean coastline.
Both incidents have been blamed on Iran, but security experts have doubts that the oil spill was intentional. Iranian claims as to the cause of the explosion aboard the Shahr E kord remain unsubstantiated at this time.