Published: Wednesday 15 May 1996

The gulf countries are oil the blink of all environmental disaster. More than 200 vessels - wrecked during the two wars in the region - carrying military hardware, explosives and oil, are lying on the floor of the Persian Gulf, according to Mahmoud Abdul Raheem, coordinator of the Kuwait- based Regional Organisation for the Protection of the Mai me Environment. Of all the countries in the region, Kuwait seems to be it the highest risk of pollution as most of the ships were sunk near the Kuwaiti coastline. Ali Iraqi VLCC (very large crude carrier), An7oriva, poses the biggest hazard, as it went down carrying 200,000 tonnes (700,000 barrels) of oil. Moreover, the vessel lies 100 kill from Kuwait's coastline in the wave-breaking area (the strongest place where waves break), thus exposing it to corrosion. Projects approved by the International Maritime Organization and hacked by the United Nation, to retrieve about 20 major wrecks are in the pipeline.

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