Saturday, December 12, 2009
U.N. and Israeli forces were searching Saturday for 11 crew members missing after an Israel-bound freighter sank in stormy weather in international waters about 50 miles off Lebanon, officials said. The Salla 2 was headed from Greece to the northern Israeli port of Haifa when it sank, the Israeli military said, adding that no foul play was suspected. Israel's military sent rescue helicopters and divers to search for survivors.UNIFIL, a force of U.N. peacekeepers in Lebanon, received a distress call from the Togo-flagged vessel, SALA II, late Friday, said UNIFIL spokesman Andrea Tenenti. A UNIFIL vessel, Zafer of Turkey, set off to the location but the distressed ship sank before the rescuers arrived. Despite bad weather conditions, one crew member was rescued and is in stable condition, Tenenti said. All 12 crew members are Ukrainian nationals, U.N. officials said. Israel and Lebanon have tense relations that worsened after the 2006 war between Israel and Lebanon's Hezbollah militia.