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2 U.S. Ships Hastily Leave Majorca; Sailors Stranded

March 08, 1985|United Press International

MADRID — Two U.S. warships on a routine port call to the Mediterranean island of Majorca departed unexpectedly, leaving 100 crew members behind, a U.S. Embassy spokesman said today.

The spokesman said the aircraft carrier Eisenhower and the guided missile cruiser Mississippi left the port of Palma Thursday night "due to an operational schedule change."

He declined to give the reason for the hurried departure and Cmdr. Gordon Peterson of the U.S. Navy Forces European Command in London said reports linking the deployment to an evacuation of the U.S. Embassy in Beirut were "pure speculation."

"I cannot discuss their future operations," he said.

The ships left so quickly that about 100 sailors were left behind on the resort island, said the spokesman in Madrid.

"The Eisenhower has a crew of 6,000--it isn't all that unusual that some crew members were left behind," he said.

Rumors of the evacuation stemmed from reports that the United States plans to veto a Lebanese resolution at the United Nations condemning Israel. There were fears the veto could provoke attacks against the U.S. Embassy in Beirut.

In the Lebanese capital, U.S. Embassy spokesman Robert Gould said that if there is any serious deterioration in security, there are plans for the embassy to be evacuated.

But a U.S. source in Beirut said it still seems "pretty hypothetical" that the two warships were heading for Beirut. The source said that tying an evacuation directly to any veto is "going a bit far."

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