Iran's top environmental official called Tuesday on littoral states to form a joint naval force to control shipping traffic in the Persian Gulf in a bid to fight mounting pollution.
Vice President Masumeh Ebtekar, who heads Iran's environmental protection organization, warned both oil exploration and busy shipping lanes are "threatening the ecological balance in the Persian Gulf."
Ebtekar, cited by the state IRNA news agency, said Gulf states had to "take steps to check the current trend of the sea's pollution" and called for a joint marine guard to "control the traffic of oil tankers and ships."
The Gulf is home to some of the world's busiest shipping routes and accidents in the area carry potentially catastrophic results.
Iran's transport ministry last month fined a Russian ship owner $62.5 million for damages and clean-up costs over the 1993 sinking of a chemicals tanker 40 kilometers (25 miles) from Lavan island in the Gulf. — (AFP, Tehran)
© Agence France Presse 2001
© 2001 Mena Report (www.menareport.com )