Iran Locates Site of Sunken Iraqi Oil-Smuggling Ship
The Iranian Ports and Shipping Organization on
Saturday announced it had found the exact spot where the Honduras-flagged vessel Georgios, which was allegedly smuggling Iraqi oil, sank in the Arabian Gulf last week.
"The oil spill has been flowing through the air-conditioning duct in the deck and it's not an oil tanker," the IPSO said in a statement, cited by the official Iranian news agency, IRNA.
The IPSO said it had sent a team and equipment to the Arabian Gulf to help fight oil pollution, and sought assistance from the naval forces of the Iranian Army and the Islamic Revolutionary Guard to clean up the oil slick.
The US Navy has said the Honduras-flagged Georgios was carrying almost 1,900 tons of Iraqi crude when it was intercepted.
It sank last Sunday after being detained for more than four weeks.
The slick is concentrated on an area 2.5 miles (four kilometers) in length and between a quarter and a half mile (less than one kilometer) wide close to Iran's Cyrus oilfield.
The Bahrain-based US Fifth Fleet said the 12 Iraqi crewmen, rescued from the Georgios, were being held on a US Navy vessel.
IPSO said Iran's coastline was under threat from the oil slick resulting from the sinking.
"The oil slick will hit the coast in the coming days," Latif Rashedi of the IPSO said last Thursday, adding that the spill threatened the areas of Bahmanshir, Khoremussa and Arvand-Rud at the confluence of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, which form the natural border between Iran and Iraq.
The ship's unidentified owners have charged that the US Navy sank the vessel “intentionally” following an argument between the captain and an inspection party, which escaped unharmed when the vessel sank.
A US-led multinational naval force patrols Arabian Gulf waters to enforce a UN embargo slapped on Iraq for invading Kuwait in August 1990.
The United Arab Emirates was also hit with a costly clean-up bill after the Georgian-registered vessel Zainab, more than 30 years old and with a cargo of 1,300 tons of smuggled Iraqi oil, sank in May – Albawaba.com
© 2001 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)
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