Kuwait Seizes Indian Tanker, Emirati Boats for Busting Iraq Embargo
Kuwait's coast guard has seized an Indian tanker and two Emirati wooden boats for violating UN sanctions on Iraq and detained 30 crewmen, the interior ministry said Saturday.
The Indian-registered tanker with 12 crewmen on board was carrying 250 tons of Iraqi diesel to the United Arab Emirates (UAE), it said. The other ships were carrying some 350 tons of urea fertilizer and dates.
The vessels, intercepted on July 19th in Kuwaiti waters, were bound for the UAE from the southern Iraqi port of Umm Qasr, the interior ministry said in a statement sent to AFP.
Kuwaiti authorities frequently stop and search boats. After an incident involving an Emirati vessel in August 1999, Kuwait accused Iraq of exporting powdered milk like that supplied to Baghdad under a UN humanitarian program.
Iraq, which denied the charge, has accused Kuwait of committing acts of "piracy" against its ships.
Kuwait in the last three months has seized several wooden ships allegedly carrying hundreds of tons of Iraqi goods to Gulf Arab states. The seized ships and the goods are normally sold at auction.
Crewmen, mostly from the Indian subcontinent, are detained and fined before being deported to their home countries.
Baghdad has been under embargo since its August 1990 invasion of Kuwait and is authorized to export crude only under strict UN control to buy food, medicine and other essential goods -- KUWAIT CITY (AFP)
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