Israeli Navy Rescues Crewless Ship
TYRE, Lebanon (AP) _ A ship carrying 73 passengers and abandoned by its crew off southern Lebanese coast was intercepted by the Israeli navy Saturday and brought ashore in Israeli-occupied Lebanon, a U.N. official said.
Timur Goksel, a spokesman for U.N. peacekeepers in southern Lebanon, said U.N. medical personnel and officials of the International Committee of the Red Cross provided food and blankets to the passengers, who were brought ashore at Naqoura, on the border with Israel.
The passengers included 70 men and three women from Iran, Iraq, Bangladesh, India, Sri Lanka and Egypt, Goksel said. There was no crew on board, he said.
There was no immediate explanation how the ship was abandoned at sea by its crew. No details about the passengers were available.
The ship, apparently bound for Greece or Italy, was intercepted about six miles off the coast, Lebanese security officials said, speaking on customary condition of anonymity.
The Israeli navy aggressively patrols the Mediterranean waters off southern Lebanon to guard against seaborne guerrilla attack.
Lebanese authorities in recent months have seized several ships carrying illegal immigrants _ most of them poor laborers _ bound for Europe. They had paid money to smugglers to get them across the Mediterranean, but in some cases were abandoned at sea.