Two U.S. Sailors Missing Updated: Sun, Nov 18 12:51 PM EST By SUSAN SEVAREID, Associated Press Writer MANAMA, Bahrain (AP) - The U.S. Navy was searching Sunday for two U.S. sailors missing in the Persian Gulf after boarding a rickety tanker deemed to be smuggling Iraqi oil. The body of a crew member of the tanker was recovered and three other crew members were still missing, said Lt. Melissa Schuermann, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Naval Forces Central Command in Bahrain. The entire 14-person crew of the tanker, Samra, was believed to be Iraqi, she said. Identities of the two U.S. sailors were not released because the search was continuing, Schuermann said. Six U.S. sailors were rescued, she said. The United Arab Emirates-flagged tanker sank at about 4:45 a.m. local time, Sunday in the northern Gulf. The U.S. Navy said it was carrying an estimated 1,900 tons of Iraqi oil in violation of U.N. sanctions against Iraq. Schuermann, who described the ship as being in "overall poor condition" and "grossly overweighted," said it was too early to speculate on the reason for the sinking. "We're doing a preliminary inquiry into the facts and circumstances surrounding the incident," she said. It was not clear whether the sunken Samra was leaking oil. The Navy said it was still focusing on search and rescue. The U.S. sailors had boarded the tanker from the USS Peterson, a destroyer whose home port is Norfolk, Va. The search was being conducted with the help of helicopters from the Peterson as well as the USS Ingram, the USS Leyte Gulf, and an Australian frigate, the HMAS Sydney, Schuermann said. In Washington, Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz indicated that the sinking was accidental. Details were sketchy. He said the tanker had been intercepted as part of a long-running U.S.-led international maritime operation designed to enforce the U.N. oil embargo against Iraq. "It is as a reminder that at the same time we are conducting a war in Afghanistan we have military (personnel) engaged in Bosnia and in Kosovo and in Iraq and in Korea. The world remains a dangerous place - not just in Afghanistan," he said on CBS' "Face the Nation." U.N. sanctions imposed after Iraq's 1990 invasion of Kuwait, which led to the Gulf War, prohibit Iraq from exporting oil without U.N. authorization. This year, the U.S.-led Maritime Interception Force has boarded numerous ships and diverted 99 vessels while enforcing sanctions.
How much more do we pay for gasoline by letting them stop IRAQI OIL from reaching the world market?