450-Ft Cargo Ship Sinks in Persian Gulf off Iranian Coast

Cargo ships sail in the Gulf off the Iranian port city of Bandar Abbas, which is the main
Atta Kenare/AFP/Getty Images

A large ship transporting cars and other cargo sank in the Persian Gulf Thursday, and one of the thirty crew members remains unaccounted for, according to reports.

Captain Nizar Qaddoura, who is also operations manager for the company that owns the ship from the United Arab Emirates, told the Associated Press (AP) that the Al Salmy 6, bound for the southern Iraq port of Umm Qsar, ran into foul weather. The Iran Meteorological Organization noted high waves and over 40 mph winds rocked the Persian Gulf beginning Wednesday, as per the AP. The weather agency issued a “red alert” earlier this week.

Qaddoura said the Al-Samy 6 began listing — a nautical term describing when a ship tilts to port or starboard after taking on water — at an unusual angle in choppy waters. Within hours, the vessel was totally underwater and sank some 30 miles from the Asaluyeh coast in Iran, the AP noted, citing the Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA), the state-run news agency in Iran.

Iran dispatched emergency workers to the scene, who saved 16 crewmembers, while an additional 11 sailors took to life rafts, Qaddoura said. A tanker in the area rescued another crew member from the water.

An Iranian official from the Bushehr Province told IRNA that all but one crew member had been rescued, Reuters noted.

An official also told IRNA that rescue operations were continuing and noted two rescue vessels and helicopters were used for the efforts following the sinking of the 453-foot ship, the BBC said.

Qaddoura told the AP that Ethiopian, Indian, Pakistani, Tanzanian, Sudanese, and Ugandan nationals comprised the crew aboard the Al Salmy 6, which had departed Dubai a few days prior to the ordeal.

“The ship’s owners, the Dubai-based Salem Al Makrani Cargo company, specializes in car freighters,” according to the AP.

Sunken ships are not typical in the busy Persian Gulf, where oil and cargo ships frequent the shipping lanes along the Iranian coast and through the Strait of Hormuz, but as winter wanes and summer approaches, sand and dust storms can bring gale-force winds to the area, according to the AP.

The incident comes roughly a month after a ship named the Felicity Ace, transporting about 1,100 Porsches and 189 Bentleys, among other vehicles, caught fire in the Atlantic and sunk in the mid-Atlantic. It had departed from Germany and was en route to Rhode Island.


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