Drama at the open sea: Israeli, American and French naval forces assisted Wednesday in the rescue of Egyptian and Syrian sailors whose ship sank in international waters off the coast of Nahariya.
Shortly before 2:00 p.m. (7:00 a.m. EST), the cargo ship Adora, traveling from Ashdod to Turkey, received a dispatch that another ship, which was apparently transporting cement, was in trouble.
The dispatch said the ship, which was carrying at least seven Egyptian and Syrian crew members and flew a North Korean flag, was sinking in international waters as it was making its way from EL Arish Port in Egypt en route to Syria.
Israeli, American, and French battleships and naval helicopters arrived at the scene, some 56 kilometers (about 35 miles) off the Nahariya coastline; the ship eventually sank, but three crew members have been saved so far.
American divers will apparently attempt to trace the four missing sailors on the ocean’s floor.
Lieutenant Colonel Yossi Meshita, who commanded the Israeli rescue efforts, said “As soon as we got the mission we knew what we had to do."
"We are not interested in who the sailors are or what their nationalities are," he said. "From our standpoint it is about saving lives, and that is what we were trying to do for many hours at sea.”
He added that the chances of finding survivors are slim, and that the ship apparently sank due to excess cargo weight.
Three months ago the Israeli Navy conducted a joint exercise with Turkish and American naval units; the forces practiced rescuing and evacuating crew members from sinking ships.