The US Central Command announced, following an investigation, that Iran was behind the attack on the motor tanker Mercer Street which left two crew members dead on July 30.
The investigation found that Mercer Street was targeted by two unsuccessful explosive unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) attacks on the evening of July 29, both of which were reported by the crew via distress calls.
The investigative team found small remnants of at least one of the UAVs, which the crew had rescued from the sea, corroborating the reports and proving them to be credible
The significant damage done to Mercer Street a day later on July 30, was the result of a third UAV attack. The UAV was loaded with military-grade explosives, which created a 6-foot hole in the topside of the pilot house and badly damaged the interior. Two crew members, a Romanian citizen and a British National were killed in the explosion.Explosive chemical tests indicated the presence of a Nitrate-based explosive, causing investigators to conclude that the UAV had been intentionally constructed to damage the ship and harm those on board.
Several parts of the third UAV, including a section of the wing and some internal components, were recovered during the investigation and, upon inspection, were found to be nearly identical to previously collected examples from Iranian one-way UAVs. In addition, the location of the attack was in close enough proximity to the Iranian coast to be consistent with the documented range of said UAVs.
Following the on scene analysis of the evidence, materials were transferred to the US Fifth Fleet headquarters, which is responsible for naval forces in the Persian Gulf, for further testing and verification. In order to verify the US’ findings, UK explosive experts were provided access to the Fifth Fleet headquarters in Bahrain, and evidence was shared virtually with Israeli explosive experts.Both the British and Israeli experts concurred with the US.
Based on the evidence, US experts have decisively concluded that the UAV was produced in Iran.
The Iranian ambassadors to the UK and Romania have both been summoned by officials in London and Bucharest in response to the attacks, and both countries have promised to coordinate a joint response alongside Israel and the US.