Two Iraqi Ships in Jordan's Aqaba Port Towed Home
Two broken-down Iraqi ships docked at Jordan's Aqaba port since the 1990 Gulf War have been sold and removed to avert environmental problems, said Jordanian official sources.
The two ships found their way to the Iraqi Um Qasr port where they were rehabilitated, one official told the Jordan Times.
Reports said that the restored ships were to operate on the Um Qasr-Dubai shipping line.
According to a senior official at the Aqaba Ports Corp., the two ships were sold last year to a private company, since Iraqi efforts to retrieve them over the past ten years had failed because of crippling international sanctions.
The company later towed the vessels to Iraq.
Another source stressed that the ships, which were “in very bad shape,” were sold as “scrap” to avoid UN restrictions.
“The two ships were posing a threat to the Gulf of Aqaba's marine life,” said a transport ministry official.
The official said they were among "three ships anchored at Aqaba” when Iraqi tanks rolled into Kuwait on August 2, 1990, triggering the Gulf War.
The fate of the third ship was not immediately known.
The remainder of the Iraqi fleet was stranded in Yemen, Mauritania, Germany, Turkey, Greece and Italy.
Iraqi Ambassador to Jordan Sabah Yassin declined comment on the transaction when contacted by the paper.
In addition to the ships, six out-of-service Iraqi planes are parked on the tarmac of the Queen Alia International Airport, said the paper.
During the Gulf War, Iraq sent its aerial fleet to the neighboring states of Iran, Tunisia and Jordan to avoid imminent US-led strikes in February 1991.
The six planes, all US-made, are not airworthy and require major repairs, according to the paper - Albawaba.com
© 2001 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)