Iran Attacks Cypriot Tanker, Four Killed
MANAMA, Bahrain (AP) _ An Iranian helicopter attacked a Cypriot tanker in the southern Persian Gulf today, killing four crew members and setting the vessel ablaze, marine salvage executives said.
At least one other crew member was injured and the survivors abandoned the vessel in lifeboats, the executives said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
The 34,622-ton tanker Avocet was heading for Kuwait to pick up an oil shipment, they said.
It was the 171st vessel known to have been attacked or damaged as a result of the 5 1/2 -year-old war between Iran and Iraq, according to Lloyd’s of London.
The executives said Iranian helicopters had attacked four other vessels in the same location, about 70 miles east of Qatar, in recent days but caused little damage.
″Fire was raging on the Avocet ... and it has been badly damaged,″ said one Kuwait-based executive.
The Avocet is managed by the Troodos Shipping and Trading Co. of Piraeus, Greece.
Iraq has been attacking ships sailing to and from Iran’s Kharg Island oil terminal with the aim of cutting off its enemy’s oil income.
Iran has launched retaliatory attacks on ships sailing in the central parts of the gulf waterway, according to gulf shipping circles.