Two dead, several missing as ship sinks off Lebanon
Beirut, December 18, 2009
A cargo ship carrying more than 80 people and livestock sank in the Mediterranean off Lebanon, killing at least two people and leaving dozens missing, Lebanese naval and security sources said on Friday.
They said three UN peacekeeping vessels, Lebanese army boats and Cyprus-based British forces were involved in rescue efforts in the area where the Panamanian-flagged Danny II capsized in stormy weather on Thursday night.
At least 31 people had been rescued and two bodies had been recovered, said the sources, adding that high waves and strong winds were hampering the search in the area where the ship sank 17 km (11 miles) off the northern Lebanese port of Tripoli.
The ship was transporting 43,000 sheep from Uruguay to Tartous in Syria. The crew were mostly from the Philippines and Pakistan.
The UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) has a naval task force that monitors Lebanese waters to prevent weapons from reaching the country's Hezbollah guerrilla force, which fought a war with Israel in 2006. Two of the search ships were German and the third was Italian.
Last week, an Israel-bound Turkish cargo ship capsized in international waters some 80 km off the Lebanese coast and seven of its crew went missing.-Reuters