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December 14th, 2009

Search for missing seamen continues off Cyprus

The Israeli Air Force and Navy continued searches over the weekend for seven missing crewmen of an Israeli-owned trade ship that capsized off the coast of Cyprus overnight Friday.

Video footage shows an Israeli military operation staged to rescue five sailors stranded at sea.  IAF helicopters evacuated these five Ukrainian sailors who were found alive on a rescue raft to Haifa’s Rambam Medical Center on Saturday evening. Another sailor was evacuated to a Beirut hospital.  One of the six sailors evacuated to Israel had spent the last 24 hours in the water, with only a life belt to prevent him from drowning.

Dr. Shlomi Israeli, head of the emergency room at the Rambam Medical Center, told Army Radio that the sailor was in moderate condition, and was suffering from extreme fatigue and a low body temperature.  A group of Ukrainian sailors rescued by IAF troops Friday night were released Sunday morning and are on their way back to the Ukraine.

Seven sailors are still missing and feared drowned.

It was not clear what caused the ship, carrying a cargo of raw material used in the production of bricks, to sink.  The ship left a Greek port bound for Haifa, Israel, and issued a mayday call on Friday.  The boat, owned by an Ashdod resident, was flying a Togolese flag of convenience.

Schechter, Shaffer & Harris, L.L.P., Accident & Injury Lawyers have represented injured Ukrainian seamen in past cases, as well as Israeli sailors.  If you have an international Jones Act or general maritime injury claim and want free advice, please contact us at info@smslegal.com.

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