One seafarer dead in Iranian vessel sinking

Last location of cargo vessel Behbahan. Credit: AISLive IHS Markit ship tracking portal

An Iranian flagged cargo vessel sank in Iraqi waters on 4 June, leaving one crew member dead and two others missing.

The head of Iran’s maritime and port association, Nader Pasandeh, said that the 650 dwt Behbahan sank off the coast of Iraq in Khor Abdullah, the narrow channel separating Iraq and Kuwait. According to IHS Markit AISLive ship tracking portal, the vessel was on route to Kuwait from the port of Khorramshahr, Southwest Iran.

The Iraqi Transport Ministry said in a statement that the reason behind Behbahan’s sinking was currently unknown and four out of the seven crew members were rescued from the waters, with one dead, and two missing. A search is still ongoing for the missing crew members.

Despite the ignition of tensions in the region, with Iranian vessels allegedly harassing US warships and the suspected attack on a Hong Kong flagged vessel in the Persian Gulf, this most recent incident does not yet appear to have geopolitical motivations. Iran’s representative in Baghdad, Mousa Alizadeh-Tabatabah spoke to press, on 5 June, stating that the sinking was most likely due to stormy weather conditions.

Representatives from both the Islamic Republic of Iran and Iraq are in talks to send a team of maritime experts to investigate the cause of the sinking.