An oil tanker carrying 5,700 tons of crude oil was on fire and sinking in the northern Gulf late Saturday, creating the risk of an oil spill, a regional environmental official said.
The 14-crew members had been taken off the vessel, which was in international waters, he added.
Abdel Mounaam Al-Janahi, head of an emergency center run by the Regional Organization for the Protection of the Marine Environment (ROPME), said the vessel was located some 66 nautical miles (122 kilometers) east of Kuwait's Mina al-Ahmadi oil terminal, and that it was carrying Iraqi oil.
He said the fire on the ship, the Honduras-registered Khaled-1, had been started by an electrical short-circuit.
"The tanker has begun to sink and list to port, but its oil has not yet started leaking out," he said.
He added that the 14-crew members -- four Iraqis, four Filipinos and six Indians -- had been taken off the craft by members of the Multinational Interception Force operating in the region to enforce UN sanctions against Iraq.
The vessel was "old, and does not conform to international safety standards," Al-Jahani said.
He said he did not know which country owned the ship, and where it was sailing from or to – MANAMA (AFP)
© 2001 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com )