UAE ship sinks 30 miles from Iran’s Asaluyeh port: Report

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An Iranian official said that 16 crew members have been rescued from a stricken United Arab Emirates ship that sank 30 miles from Iran’s Asaluyeh port while transporting cars, AFP and the official IRNA news agency reported on Thursday.

Around 30 crew members were earlier reported to be in the water with life vests on awaiting rescue.

Strong winds have caused storms in the Gulf and disrupted the movement of vessels and maritime activity, Iran’s semi-official Tasnim news agency said.

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Capt. Nizar Qaddoura, the operations manager of the Salem Al Makrani Cargo company, confirmed to The Associated Press that the Al Salmy 6 had sunk off Iran.

He said that rescuers had saved 16 crew members. Another 11 had made it onto a life raft, while one person was saved by a nearby tanker. Two crew members were still in the water.

The crew consisted of nationals from Sudan, India, Pakistan, Uganda, Tanzania and Ethiopia, Qaddoura said. The vessel had been on its way to Umm Qasr, Iraq, carrying cars and other cargo, he said.

Marine tracking data analyzed by The Associated Press suggested the vessel was the roll-on roll-off cargo ship Al Salmy 6. The Dubai-based company that owns the Al Salmy declined to immediately comment.

Images released by IRNA and Iranian state television matched with the Al Salmy 6.

The US Navy’s 5th Fleet, which patrols in the Middle East, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The Arabian Gulf remains a major waterway for trade, ranging from cargo ships that transship onto the rest of the world and energy shipments from the Gulf Arab states.

Vessels sinking in the waterway remain incredibly rare. However, dust storms and other poor weather have swept across the region as the seasons change from relatively cold winter months to the scorching days of summer.

Severe weather pounded the Arabian Gulf starting on Wednesday, the state-run Iran Meteorological Organization reported, warning of powerful wind gusts that would disrupt maritime activities in the gulf and and damage offshore facilities through Saturday. Wind speeds are expected to exceed 70 kph (40 mph) in Iran’s Bushehr province.

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