The MV Mercer street strike on Thursday night was the first known deadly attack after years of attacks on commercial shipping in the region linked to tensions with Iran over its tattered nuclear deal.
British maritime security firm Ambrey said the attack, which saw a hole drilled through the ship’s deck, killed one of its employees on board. A Romanian citizen was also killed.
Iran has denied any responsibility after the Israeli prime minister directly blamed it for the attack, but Mr Raab said the British government supported Naftali Bennett’s claim.
“The UK condemns the unlawful and cruel attack on a merchant ship off the coast of Oman which killed a British and Romanian national,” Raab said in a statement Sunday afternoon.
“Our hearts go out to the friends and family of those killed in the incident.
“We believe this attack was deliberate, targeted and a flagrant violation of international law by Iran. “
Mr Raab continued: ‘British assessments have concluded that it is very likely that Iran attacked the MV Mercer Street in international waters off Oman on July 29 using one or more vehicles. unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).
“Iran must end such attacks and ships must be allowed to navigate freely in accordance with international law. The UK is working with our international partners on a concerted response to this unacceptable attack. “
The Foreign Ministry said the drone assault followed similar attacks on three other Israel-linked ships in the region since February.
Officials said that in the summer of 2019, Iran was also “almost certainly responsible” for the attacks on two ships in the Gulf of Oman.
Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh said the accusations against Iran were “baseless”.
“This is not the first time that the Zionist regime occupying Jerusalem has made such empty accusations against the Islamic Republic of Iran,” Khatibzadeh said. “Wherever this regime has gone, it has taken instability, terror and violence with it. He added: “He who sows the wind will reap the whirlwind. “
Mercer Street, empty of all cargo, was heading from Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, to Fujairah in the United Arab Emirates at the time of the attack, Zodiac Maritime said.
The attack targeted the tanker just northeast of the Omani island of Masirah, 185 miles southeast of Muscat, the capital of Oman.
The US nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan and guided-missile destroyer USS Mitscher escorted Mercer Street as it made its way to a safe port, the US Navy’s Middle East-based Fifth Fleet said on Saturday in a communicated.