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Iraq: Evacuation of oil ship crew due to naval mine

Oil tanksers seen at the Al-Basra Oil Terminal in Iraq [Samuel W. Shavers/Wikipedia]
Oil tankers seen at the Al-Basra Oil Terminal in Iraq, 16 May 2017 [Samuel W. Shavers/Wikipedia]

The Iraqi Ministry of Defence announced on Friday that an oil ship was evacuated after a naval mine became attached to its hull in Gulf waters.

The ministry's Security Information Cell confirmed in a statement, of which Anadolu Agency received a copy, that a large naval mine became attached to the ship on Thursday evening, while in the waiting area in international waters, 28 nautical miles from the Iraqi oil ports.

The statement explained that when the incident occurred: "This ship, which was leased from the State Organisation for Marketing of Oil (SOMO), was refuelling another ship," without indicating the owner of the second ship.

The statement elaborated: "An explosives-handling team was formed by the Ministry of the Interior, transported by air to Al-Faw Port, and then in coordination with the Iraqi naval force, the team members went on board."

The statement pointed out that the special unit evacuated the ship that had been refuelled, and began working to defuse the mine in the affected ship, while evacuating its crew.

The ministry did not give further details about the circumstances of the incident.

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