11 Indians rescued from burning boat

Updated 11 March 2014
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11 Indians rescued from burning boat

The Coast Guard and Saudi Aramco saved 11 Indian seamen Tuesday from a cargo tugboat that caught fire off Jubail in the Eastern Province.
The boat had departed from the Kasphap port in Oman on Monday with some 800 goats and was headed to Kuwait via Saudi waters.
Col. Khaled Al-Arqubi, a Coast Guard spokesman in the Eastern Province, told Arab News on Thursday: “The Coast Guard received information from Saudi Aramco stating that a boat had caught fire near the island of Karan, Aramco’s offshore gas field, with 11 Indian sailors on board.”
Al-Arqubi said that Aramco officials and members of the Coast Guard went out on several boats and attempted to extinguish the fire, but the burning boat sank.
The boat’s captain, Salim Karim Sanghar, who hails from Jamnagar in Gujarat, told Arab News that “the engineer on board saw flames coming from the boat’s engine. Six of the crewmembers were asleep, while others were on the job at the time of the incident. The boat contained bundles of grass for feeding the goats, which went up in flames. The boat was completely engulfed and had no choice but to jump into the water for safety.”
The survivors were transferred onto a rescue boat and moved to Jubail on Wednesday.
Sanghar praised Saudi authorities, including Saudi Aramco, for their humanitarian approach and timely assistance.
“Saudi Aramco sailors gave us clothes and Saudi coastguards gave us food and a place to stay at their base in Jubail,” he added. “I hope to be able to get home as soon as possible.”
Al-Arqubi said that two crewmembers were injured and were taken to Jubail General Hospital for treatment, and they are in stable condition.
Meanwhile, procedures for the repatriation of the sailors are underway.
“The Indian Embassy is following up on the case and Sibi George, India’s deputy chief of mission in Riyadh, has dispatched Mohammed Imdad Alam, an embassy officer, to the Jubail port to meet the sailors and arrange for their repatriation,” said Shamsudheen Chettippadi, an Indian social worker who met the sailors and coastguard officials in Jubail.


US State Department imposes visa ban on several DRCongo officials

Updated 22 June 2018
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US State Department imposes visa ban on several DRCongo officials

  • The visa ban comes after the US Treasury sanctioned Israeli billionaire Dan Gertler on June 15, who it said had amassed a fortune through corrupt mining and oil deals in the DRC, using his close friendship with Kabila
  • Several senior Congolese officials involved in corruption travel frequently to the US, so the visa ban is an important step

WASHINGTON: The United States said on Thursday it had imposed visa bans on several senior officials in the Democratic Republic of Congo for corruption tied to the country’s electoral process to send a “strong signal” about the need for a peaceful transfer of power.
Washington declined to identify the individuals, saying it was not obligated to reveal them based on “foreign policy considerations.”
“Today’s actions send a strong signal that the US government is committed to fighting corruption, to supporting credible elections that lead to DRC’s first peaceful and democratic transfer of power,” the State Department said.
The move comes before elections scheduled in DRC for Dec. 23. There are concerns, however, that President Joseph Kabila, who succeeded his assassinated father Laurent in 2001, could delay the vote to seek a third elected term.
The visa ban comes after the US Treasury sanctioned Israeli billionaire Dan Gertler on June 15, who it said had amassed a fortune through corrupt mining and oil deals in the DRC, using his close friendship with Kabila.
Sasha Lezhnev, deputy policy director at the nonprofit rights group Enough Project called Thursday’s visa ban an important step “to dissuade Kabila from putting his name on the ballot and help ensure a credible election.”
“Several senior Congolese officials involved in corruption travel frequently to the US, so the visa ban is an important step,” said Lezhnev. “They or the businesses they partner with also use US banks to process corrupt commercial deals, so the US and EU should enact stronger sanctions on their corporate networks to target their assets.”