NEWS

Former Fiji Citizen Dies In Suspected Drone Attack Off The Coast Of Oman

A Fijian born former British Army veteran was killed on board a Liberian flagged oil tanker off the coast of Oman in the Arabian Sea last Thursday.
02 Aug 2021 11:07
Former Fiji Citizen Dies In Suspected Drone Attack Off The Coast Of Oman
M/T Mercer Street. Inset: Adrian Underwood.

A Fijian born former British Army veteran was killed on board a Liberian flagged oil tanker off the coast of Oman in the Arabian Sea last Thursday.

International media reported that the deceased, Adrian Underwood, who was now a British citizen, was one of two aboard killed in a suspected drone attack. He was working as a security officer.

He joined the British Army in the early 2000s, however at the time of his death he worked for Ambrey, a UK-based firm which provides maritime security.

His family has requested for privacy at this time and declined to release any information to the media.

It is understood that the attack was a result of the ongoing Israel / Iran ‘shadow war’ that has seen an exchange in attacks against vessels in recent years.

International media also reported that the attack was carried out by a number of Iranian drones that slammed into the ship’s living quarters underneath the vessel’s command centre.

The vessel is currently being escorted by the American nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan and the guided missile destroyer USS Mitscher to a safe port.

In a statement, Zodiac Maritime, the owner of the product tanker M/T Mercer Street, confirmed the incident and said that their primary concern was the safety and wellbeing of all crew members and those affected by the situation.

The company is working closely with the United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations (UKMTO) and other relevant authorities to address the situation.

“We can confirm that there has been a suspected Piracy incident on board the product tanker M/T Mercer Street. The ship is a Japanese owned vessel managed by our UK based Zodiac Maritime Office,” the company said.

“At the time of the incident the vessel was in the northern Indian Ocean, travelling from Dar es Salaam to Fujairah with no cargo on board.”

Earlier reports indicated sighting of an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) that is understood to have “deployed flares”, which were reportedly seen falling into the water.

Edited by Selita Rabuku

Feedback: fonua.talei@fijisun.com.fj



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