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Container ship »CMA CGM Symi«

Photo: Mega Ships Video / YouTube

The Maltese-flagged container ship "CMA CGM Symi" was allegedly attacked by an Iranian drone on Friday. This is reported by news agencies unanimously, citing an unnamed US security official.

The »CMA CGM Symi« had been hit by an unmanned aerial vehicle. According to the information, the drone is an Iranian Shahed-136 brand. The drones can carry a small warhead. Iran, for example, supplies Russia with the combat equipment that is also used in Moscow's war against Ukraine.

Position transponder switched off

The ship was slightly damaged in the incident, but there were no casualties on board. According to the ship tracking portal Marinetraffic, the "CMA CGM Symi" is 366 meters long, and the container ship has apparently switched off its position transponder since Tuesday. Most recently, the location off Dubai was recorded.

When asked about the incident, the French shipping company CMA CGM referred to the Singapore-based company Eastern Pacific Shipping, which apparently owns the ship. Eastern Pacific Shipping is controlled by Israeli billionaire Idan Ofer, according to the AP news agency. The company said it was aware of reports that a vessel managed by the company had been involved in a security incident, according to the AP. However, the ship is still on course.

"The attack was likely carried out because of Eastern Pacific Shipping's connections to Israel," maritime security firm Ambrey said, according to the AP. Israel's military and the Israeli Foreign Ministry did not initially comment on the incident.

Large cargo ships are usually required to turn on their position tracking system (AIS). However, if the crews fear danger from the publicly visible position, the system can be switched off.

Situation in the Arabian Sea increasingly dangerous for merchant shipping

The alleged attack comes after threats by Yemen's pro-Iranian Houthi militia to attack Israeli ships and ships of Israel's Red Sea allies. On Sunday, a Houthi spokesman said that the Iranian-backed Shiite militant group had hijacked a ship in the Red Sea and brought it to the Yemeni coast.

The Houthi militia sees itself as part of the self-proclaimed "axis of resistance" directed against Israel. This includes other Iranian-backed groups such as the radical Islamic Palestinian organization Hamas and the Shiite Islamist Hezbollah militia in Lebanon.

Since the beginning of the war between Israel and Hamas in response to the latter's brutal invasion of Israeli territory, the Houthis have repeatedly sent drones and fired rockets at Israel. These had been intercepted by Israeli air defenses as well as by U.S. warships.