More than 30 miss­ing in Yemen ship­wreck

Kuwait Times - - INTERNATIONAL -

More than 30 peo­ple were miss­ing off the Ye­meni is­land of So­co­tra yes­ter­day af­ter a cargo ves­sel car­ry­ing is­lan­ders home from the main­land sank in the In­dian Ocean, au­thor­i­ties said. At least 26 pas­sen­gers were res­cued from the wa­ter af­ter a ma­jor search op­er­a­tion in the early hours, Pres­i­dent Abedrabbo Man­sour Hadi said in a state­ment on the of­fi­cial sa­ web­site.

The ship sank north­west of So­co­traaround 350 kilo­me­ters from Yemen’s south coast-which has been hit by rare trop­i­cal cy­clones in re­cent months. Hadi called for “dou­bling ef­forts to broaden res­cue op­er­a­tions to re­duce the scope of the catas­tro­phe that has struck the in­hab­i­tants of So­co­tra.” Of­fi­cials de­clined to say if in­clement weather was be­hind the disas­ter but Ye­meni Fish­eries Min­is­ter Fahd Kavieen ear­lier told re­porters that the ves­sel had “an ac­ci­dent.”

“Sixty peo­ple, in­clud­ing women and chil­dren, were aboard the ves­sel, which was also car­ry­ing small fish­ing boats,” he said. The gov­ern­ment said United Arab Emirates jets were as­sist­ing search and res­cue op­er­a­tions along­side Ye­meni coast­guards as well as two ships from Aus­tralia and Austria. It did not spec­ify whether those ves­sels were mer­chant ships or part of an in­ter­na­tional flotilla that has been fight­ing piracy off the nearby So­mali coast.

Al­though long ruled from Yemen, So­co­tra lies closer to the coast of Africa than it does to the Ara­bian Penin­sula. It sits at the exit of a busy ship­ping lane from the Mediter­ranean through the Suez Canal and the Red Sea into the In­dian Ocean. For years it was prey to piracy from the law­less So­mali coast and it is in one of the most heav­ily pa­trolled mar­itime ar­eas on Earth. —AFP

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