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Iran stops search for missing crew of vessel capsized off Iraq

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Iran stops search for missing sailors who were on board a ship that sank off in Iraqi waters in early June.

Iranian maritime authorities say a search operation to find missing crews of a vessel that capsized earlier this month in Iraqi waters has been suspended for good.

Nader Pasandeh, head of safety at Iran’s Ports and Maritime Organization (PMO), said on Tuesday that the search for two missing sailors was no longer tenable due to “technical reasons”.

“Despite all efforts (including) local and maritime search and sending signals to neighboring countries and ships sailing through the region, there has been no sign of the two missing crew members,” Pasandeh was quoted as saying PMO’s website.

The missing crew, one Iranian and one Indian, were on board Behbahan, a cargo ship that sank on June 2 as it was heading from the southwestern Iranian port of Khorramshahr towards the port of Umm Qasr near Iraq’s Basra.

Reports earlier this month suggested that Behbahan capsized after bad weather and heavy swells pushed it 850-ton cargo of tiles and ceramic to one side.

Four crew members survived the incident and were returned to Iran while the body of an Iranian sailor who had been killed was retrieved from the Iraqi waters.

Authorities in Iran and Iraq have indicated that is no chance for those who fell into the water to survive after two weeks.

However, Pasandeh said the search operation would resume once there is an indication or a sign in the regional waters of the sailors or their bodies.

He said monitoring regional waters would go on as the PMO continues corresponding on the issue with maritime authorities of the region.

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