PORTS REFUSE ENTRY TO TANKER DAMAGED BY FIRE
DUBAI - A tanker carrying 18 dead Filipino sailors and 1.5 million barrels of crude oil
is stranded on high seas just outside the Persian Gulf 10 days
after a fire gutted the vessel, shipping sources said today.
The sources said regional ports were refusing
to allow the Greek-owned, 267,038-ton Stolidi anywhere near
because they fear it may cause an environmental disaster.
Shipping sources said the tanker might have to offload its cargo
to another ship in deep water outside territorial limits, a costly and complex operation.
The Stolidi caught fire on March 19 in the Arabian Sea about 500 miles off the Omani coast.
Besides the 18 sailors whose bodies remain on board,
two more sailors died on a rescue ship
that carried survivors from the 37-man crew to nearby Omani ports.
Salvage inspectors said the ship's cargo was intact.
The Stolidi is now about 80 miles off the United Arab Emirates port of Fujairah
and is being towed by the Dutch salvage ship Berkut.
None of the ship's six Greek officers was hurt in the blaze.