(Persia Digest)- An Iranian vessel has drowned near Azerbaijan’s Lankaran port, the Azerbaijani State Maritime Agency told Trend on Friday.

Iranian vessel sinks near Lankaran port

According to the English-language website 'Trend', the National Center of the State Maritime Agency received a distress signal at 14:10 (GMT+4) about the wreck of the Iranian Shabahang cargo ship near the port of Lankaran earlier today.

Mehr News reports that two helicopters of the Azerbaijani Ministry of Emergency Situations and a patrol vessel of the State Border Service were sent to the scene of the incident.

The rescue operation is underway, the Azeri website further added.

Reuters further reported that Azerbaijan has rescued nine people abroad the vessel.

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The cargo ship is named by the IRNA news agency as 'Shabahang.' The cause of the incident is yet to be known.

The ‘Shabahang’ is a general cargo ship built in 1993, which has recently been hauling cargo between the Iranian port of Bandar-e Anzali and Russia’s Astrakhan, according to traffic records.

A maritime official based in the northern Iranian province of Guilan said the ship was carrying around 950 tons of tiles and ceramic products when it drowned.

Ali Khedmatgozar told the IRIB News that the ship was privately owned and staffed by seven Iranian and two Indian sailors when it began drowning. He added that all members of the crew had been rescued by the Azerbaijani authorities.

The official would not definitively say what had caused the incident but hinted that the ship had been fighting waves of up to three meters before sinking.

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