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Reporting indicates that the Liberian flagged MT Pola has identified the presence of a suspicious object attached to the vessel hull while conducting StS 6nm South Al Bakr Terminal offshore Iraq.

The object is suspected to be a limpet mine. The crew and vessel are understood to be safe at this time.

Currently, Iraqi explosives experts are working to defuse the mine.

What is more, the MT Pola can be seen to have been in position where the mine was found since the 27th December 20, however it remains unclear when the device was placed.

Additional reporting indicates that a second vessel the M/T Nordic Freedom has assisted the Pola in obtaining pictures of the device.

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Two people have lost their lives, while seven others are missing, after a cargo ship with 13 crew sank on on December 30 in East China's Zhejiang province.

The center received a distress call at about 3:40 pm from a dry cargo carrier, alerting that the ship's cargo hold was flooded because of strong waves about two nautical miles north of Cezi island in the city of Zhoushan.

The ship was loaded with 4,700 tonnes of cement en route from Wuhu to Xiamen.

Four crew members have been saved.

Local authorities have dispatched more than 20 vessels to search for the missing members.

Before this incident, on December 22, a strong storm near Vietnam placed two Chinese-owned ships in distress. Namely, the Marshall Island flagged chemical carrier Chem Sinyoo reportedly blacked out on December 21 during the storm about 100 nautical miles Vietnam. The ship was heading to Shanghai. The crew attempted to repair the ship, but their task was very difficult as their ship was hit by several large waves.

As a result, the captain requested medical assistance from the Vietnamese authorities, reporting that one mechanic in the engine room, had lost his life, while four other crew members were badly injured.

The vessel did not have medical facilities aboard and required medical assistance. The Vietnamese Coast Guard sent two ships with medical staff to assist, and the four injured crew members were moved to a hospital.

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Maersk Elba, a Neopanamax containership that suffered engine failure off Portugal after a fire onboard several days ago, is now being towed to the Port of Algeciras in Spain, Portuguese National Maritime Authority (AMN) said.

Image Courtesy: Autoridade Marítima Nacional

Two tugs are towing the 2011-built boxship. The Portuguese Navy patrol vessel NRP Cassiopeia is also accompanying the ship until it leaves the country’s territorial waters.

“As a result of the work carried out to restore the ship’s propulsion and repair other systems affected by the fire, it was concluded that the safety conditions were not met for the ship to sail by its own means,” AMN informed, adding that experts and the shipowner decided to transfer Maersk Elba to a shipyard in Algeciras.

To remind, the 13,092 TEU ship lost power following a fire in the engine room while it was en route to the UK from Sri Lanka on 26 December. The vessel’s crew extinguished the fire on their own and notified local authorities.

The ship was then towed to the anchorage some 3.7 kilometers off Sagres to undergo inspection and initial repairs.

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A landing craft vessel capsized in the Strait of Hormuz, resulting in seven people going missing. The vessel capsized 25 miles southeast of Iran's Lark Island in the Strait of Hormuz.

According to Xinhua efforts are ongoing to save the seven people.

After receiving the message, a lifeguard vessel was dispatched to the area and necessary coordination were made with other Iranian maritime units as well as the passing vessels in the Strait of Hormuz.

Nevertheless, because of unfavorable weather conditions and darkness, the operation started from December 26, and the search and rescue operators located the watercraft capsized on the southeast of Lark Island.

The search and rescue team is now trying to find the missing people by mobilizing all the facilities and forces, as well as informing the passing vessels and the search and rescue centers of Oman, the United Arab Emirates and Pakistan.