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Iranians Wish Ship a Good Trip, Then Rake It With Gunfire

January 14, 1988|Associated Press

MANAMA, Bahrain — An Iranian warship radioed "happy voyage" to a Dutch-owned tanker, then blasted it for an hour with machine guns, cannon and rocket-propelled grenades today, injuring two people, crewmen said.

The dawn attack on the 35,731-ton Petrobulk Pioneer was Iran's first shipping strike of the year. It apparently was in retaliation for Iraqi raids this week on Iranian oil traffic that broke a nine-day calm in the Persian Gulf.

The Petrobulk Pioneer was just outside Dubai territorial waters, heading for Jubail, Saudi Arabia, when attacked before dawn.

"It was dark, and the Iranian warship interrogated us on our destination," Filipino crewman Melchor Tageb said. "We answered, and then they wished us a happy voyage."

"The next minute they began firing and continued for nearly an hour, attacking from both sides," Tageb said after the crew put out a fire and sailed to Dubai.

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