Sunken Fuel Tanker Had "Dirty" Oil

Monday, April 16, 2001
Oil leaking from a fuel tanker that sank in the Gulf off the coast of the United Arab Emirates while reportedly smuggling Iraqi oil was brought under control on Sunday, a UAE official said.

The 3,500-ton Iraqi tanker Zainab, which sank on Saturday, was intercepted several days ago by the Multinational Interception Force that enforces sanctions against Iraq, an official at the Bahrain-based U.S. Navy's Fifth Fleet said.

The ship, which was carrying about 1,300 tons of fuel oil, ran into trouble on its way to a holding area in international waters for ships suspected of smuggling Iraqi oil in violation of U.N. sanctions.

It was reported that coast guard divers had managed to plug up holes in the tanker through which fuel oil had been spilling off the UAE's northern coast and that the leakage was now under "complete control".

The oil slick reportedly had started to disperse and was being treated with environmentally safe chemicals by teams fighting the spillage.

UAE officials have said they would try to salvage the tanker, which sank off the coast of Jebel Ali, north of Dubai. All crewmembers onboard were rescued.

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