TEHRAN: A United Arab Emirates cargo ship sank off the coast of Iran with 30 crew members aboard, authorities have said.
“An Emirati car transporter ship Al Salmy 6 capsized nearly 50 kilometres (30 miles) from the port of Asalouyeh and a search operation has been launched to rescue its 30 crew members,” a local maritime protection official told the state news agency on Thursday.
“Because of the unfavorable weather and high winds” the ship sank before three rescue vessels could reach its location, the official said.
Another Iranian official said 16 of the 30 crew were later pulled from the water by rescuers.
“Thanks to the efforts of emergency teams, 16 of the ship’s crew have been rescued,” the crisis management director for Bushehr province told Iran’s news outlet.
“The search for the other 14 crew members is continuing.”
ran’s weather service had put out a red alert on Wednesday for high winds and heavy seas in the waters off Asalouyeh.
The official did not give further details of the stricken vessel.
As well as a port, the town of Asalouyeh is a major petrochemicals centre on the Gulf coast southeast of the city of Bushehr.
Despite its close relations with the West, the United Arab Emirates has remained a major trade partner of Iran.
The two countries downgraded diplomatic relations in 2016 following the severance of ties between Iran and Gulf Arab heavyweight Saudi Arabia, an Emirati ally.
But a rare visit to Tehran by a senior UAE official in December prompted talk of improving relations.