Israeli Divers Find Bodies of 2 Sailors

The Associated Press
Friday, August 31, 2007; 10:43 AM

HAIFA, Israel -- Israeli divers found the bodies of two sailors missing in the Mediterranean Sea on Friday, 12 hours after their cargo ship sank in a collision with a cruise ship, police said.

The two bodies were found inside the sunken ship, where the crewmen apparently had been trapped when their vessel was accidentally rammed by a Cypriot passenger ship on Thursday night, the Israel Police said in an official announcement.

The two dead men were the ship's first mate and engineer, one Ukrainian and the other Indonesian, according to police.

The cargo ship was anchored about two miles from Israel's coast, near the port city of Haifa, when it was hit by the Cypriot passenger ship, Brig. Gen. Ram Rutberg of the Israeli navy said.

Eleven other crew members managed to escape the sinking cargo ship in a rescue launch lowered by the passenger liner and were picked up by the navy, Rutberg said.

The cargo ship was Israeli-owned but the crew members are foreigners, according to Israeli media reports.

The passenger liner, Salamis Glory, returned to port in Haifa on Friday with light damage visible on its hull. No one aboard was hurt, Rutberg said.

Police will be questioning its crew members and investigating what led to the accident, Israeli police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said.

The Salamis Glory boasts a swimming pool, gym, bars, restaurants, a casino, duty-free shop and a discotheque. It offers two- and three-day cruises to Israel, Egypt and the Greek islands.

Cypriot shipping official Sergios Sergiou told the Cyprus News Agency that his government will send inspectors Friday to Israel to assist with the investigation.

He said one of the possible lines of inquiry would be the possibility there was a problem in the ship's navigation system.

© 2007 The Associated Press