Search continues for missing crew after storm sinks UAE cargo ship

Two people yet to be found, vessel's operator confirms

Cargo vessel 'Al Salmy 6' sank in the northern Gulf on Thursday. EPA

The operator of a UAE cargo ship that sank on Thursday morning has confirmed that the search for two crew members is continuing.

“The remaining two crew are still missing and search going on,” Salem Al Makrani Cargo said.

The cargo vessel sank in the northern Gulf in severe weather.

Twenty-eight crew members were rescued on Thursday. The ship’s operator previously told The National all of the crew had been rescued.

It is believed the two missing crew members are from Pakistan.

Salem Al Makrani Cargo, based in Dubai, identified the ship as the Al Salmy 6, a roll-on/roll-off cargo vessel used to transport vehicles to Iraq. It was about 45 kilometres south of Iran, Iranian state media said, which is in international waters.

“On March 15th morning, Ro-Ro Al Salmy 6 has sailed from Hamriya port, Dubai-bound to Umm Qasr in loaded conditions (general cargo and cars) and as from 16th late evening Al Salmy 6 started facing rough weather,” a statement from the cargo company read.

“On 17th at 03:00 hrs, we received a call from one vessel informing that Al Salmy 6 is not under command and that master has sent a distress alert to vessels in vicinity.

“One tanker, Front Savannah, has received the distress, and informed [Assalouyeh] port control — Iran who immediately arranged rescue for the vessel.”

The statement concluded by saying that although many of the crew had been rescued, two remained unaccounted for.

“By 10:00 hrs, we knew that Al Salmy 6 has sunk completely, but [thanks] to Iranian rescue team, they succeeded to save the lives of 27 out of 30, and one was saved by the tanker Front Savannah. Remaining two crew are still missing and search going on.”

UAE cargo ship 'Al Salmy 6' capsized near Assalouyeh port in southern Iran on Thursday. EPA

Captain Nizar Qaddoura, operations manager at Salem Al Makrani Cargo, said the ship encountered rough and stormy weather, then capsized. Weather service reports said waves were up to six metres high.

The crew comprised citizens of Sudan, India, Pakistan, Uganda, Tanzania and Ethiopia, Capt Qaddoura said.

Iran’s official Irna news agency quoted local officials who said several rescue boats were sent and a helicopter was deployed.

The vessel sank in “unfavourable weather conditions and strong winds”, one official said.

The 138-metre vessel left Rashid Port in Dubai on Tuesday and was expected at Umm Qasr Port in Basra on Friday.

Al Salmy 6 was built in 1983, making it 39 years old.

Updated: March 18, 2022, 12:11 PM