Peterson Sailors Missing After Suspect Tanker Sinks in Gulf

Story Number: NNS011120-01Release Date: 11/20/2001 5:26:00 PM
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By the Navy News Service

WASHINGTON (NNS) -- The Navy continues the search for two Sailors who boarded a suspicious vessel that sank accidentally Nov. 18 in international waters in the northern Persian Gulf. The vessel was believed to be smuggling Iraqi oil in violation of United Nations Security Council sanctions against Iraq.

The Sailors, members of an eight-member security team from USS Peterson (DD 969), have been identified as Engineman 1st Class Vincent Parker, 38, of Preston, Miss., and Electronics Technician 3rd Class Benjamin Johnson, 21, of Rochester, N.Y.

The suspect vessel, Motor Vessel Samra (also known as M/V Navigator I), was being watched by Peterson's security team while enforcing United Nations (U.N.) sanctions against Iraq.

Six Peterson security team members and 10 M/V Samra crewmembers were recovered safely by Navy ships operating in the region. The search also continues for three additional M/V Samra crewmembers. One M/V Samra crewmember was found dead during the rescue and the body was recovered.

M/V Samra was diverted by the Multinational Maritime Interception Force (MIF) for illegally carrying Iraqi oil in violation of U.N. Security Council resolutions.

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