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Iranian Boats Attack 2 Greek Ships in a 12-Hour Period in Gulf

November 22, 1987|From Times Wire Services

MANAMA, Bahrain — An Iranian gunboat attacked a Greek tanker early today in the Persian Gulf, the second attack on a Greek ship in 12-hours in the troubled waterway, shipping sources said.

Gulf-based maritime salvage executives said the 63,953-ton Andromeda, flying the Greek flag, was attacked at 3:25 a.m. off the coast of Dubai but that it sustained only minor damage.

The sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said there were no injuries. It was not immediately known what weapons were used in the Iranian attack.

The tanker, which was sailing empty from Singapore for the Saudi Arabian port of Jubail, later went to Dubai to be inspected for possible repairs, the sources said.

On Saturday, the Greek-flagged freighter Gimilta was hit by rocket-propelled grenades near Iran's Farsi Island as it sailed in the northern gulf en route to Kuwait. There were no casualties, the sources said, but the extent of damage to the freighter was unknown.

Hours before the attack on the Gimilta, the shipping sources said, a U.S. Blackhawk helicopter dispatched from an American frigate in the southern gulf scattered a group of Iranian speedboats making a run toward a U.S.-flagged supply vessel, the Gulf Fleet 104, near the coastal emirate of Sharjah.

Elsewhere in the gulf Saturday, shipping sources reported that U.S. frogmen destroyed three mines lying near busy sea lanes in the north.

In Washington, the destruction of the mines was verified, but the incident involving the helicopter scattering Iranian speedboats was not confirmed by the Defense Department's Central Command, which directs the U.S. armada in the Persian Gulf. Regarding the destruction of the mines, the Pentagon said they were found by wooden-hulled minesweepers last used in the Vietnam War.

The three mines destroyed Saturday were lying six miles from the site in the central gulf where the U.S.-flagged tanker Bridgeton hit a mine July 24. Navy divers attached explosives to detonate the mines, identified as a Myam-type weapon manufactured in the Soviet Union and in Eastern Bloc countries.

The action Saturday raised to 17 the number of such weapons found and destroyed by U.S. forces in the gulf since July. Two such mines had been found in the same area on Friday by the U.S. ships, using specially designed variable depth sonars.

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