Israel Tracking Movement of Iranian Ships, Reports Presence of Spy Ship Bashad

By Arie Egozi

Foreign Affairs

Tel Aviv. Israel is closely following the movement of Iranian ships in the Middle East as Tehran quietly replaces the Red Sea spy ship damaged in an April attack. The blast that targeted the Saviz on in April caused no casualties and was under investigation, an Iranian spokesman said. “The vessel was a civilian ship stationed there to secure the region against pirates,” he added.

The New York Times reported that Israel had told the US, it attacked the Saviz. Israeli officials did not comment, but it is the latest in a series of attacks on Israeli and Iranian-owned ships, for which the arch-foes blame each other.

Iran towed the damaged ship back to its home port and sent a similar ship to gather intelligence on the strategically important waterway. The Bashad, an Iranian ship registered as a general cargo ship, left the port of Bender Abbas in early July, arriving at its destination nine days later, according to satellite images made by an Israeli imaging satellite operated by ISI.

The Bashad stopped near the Bab al-Mandab Strait, a strategic waterway that controls access to the Red Sea and the Suez Canal. A few days later, the Sebiz, another Iranian ship registered as a cargo ship that toured this water for five years, began its journey back to Iran, accompanied by two tugboats. The ships are currently south of Oman, according to the satellite images.