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Death toll of boat sinking off Iranian coast rises to 17

(Xinhua)

13:19, January 23, 2012

TEHRAN, Jan. 22 (Xinhua) -- A total of 17 people died after a passenger boat sank off the Iranian coast, the semi-official Fars news agency reported on Sunday.

The boat with 22 passengers and crew members on board, moving from Hormuz Island to the port city of Bandar Abbas in the Persian Gulf, sank due to the stormy weather condition on the sea, said the report.

The boat began its 11-mile (18-km) journey despite a travel ban on light boats issued by shipping authorities due to a storm with winds of 50 mph (80 kph), said the report.

Also, some media reports said the boat had run out of fuel and was tossed about by heavy winds before capsizing. The strong wind also hampered the rescue efforts.

Hossein Khoshbakht, chief of the Public Relations of Hormuzghan Ports and Shipping Bureau told semi-official ISNA news agency that five people have been rescued and the captain of the boat, who is one of the survivors, is under detention for disregarding local sea officials' warnings.

The wreck of the sunken boat has been transferred to Bandar Abbas, Majid Amini, an official of Bandar Abbas was quoted by the state IRIB TV as saying.

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