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Cyclone Gonu kills 15

Cyclone Gonu killed 12 people in Oman and three in Iran but waned into a storm as it passed into a major oil shipping route toward Iran on Thursday.

  • Agencies
  • Published: 00:00 June 7, 2007
  • Gulf News

  • Image Credit: Brian Espinosa/Gulf News
  • Cyclone Gonu caused a lot of havoc in terms of high seas, rain, winds and floods in combination.
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Dubai: Cyclone Gonu killed 12 people in Oman and three in Iran but waned into a storm as it passed into a major oil shipping route toward Iran on Thursday.

Gonu, which peaked as a maximum-force Category Five hurricane on Tuesday and faded to a Category One hurricane on Wednesday is now an ordinary tropical storm, experts said.

Click here to see the 'path of Gonu' (pdf)

The storm's maximum sustained wind speed is now about 45 miles per hour, the US military's Joint Typhoon Warning Center said, and it was likely to keep dissipating.

"It caused a lot of havoc in terms of high seas, rain, winds and floods in combination," said Ahmad Al Harthi, head of Oman's meteorological department.

A relief official said 12 people had been confirmed killed by the storm which turned the streets of the capital Muscat into rivers; upturning cars and severing electricity and phone lines.

In Iran, three people have been killed in Bandar-e Jask when an overflowing river caused their vehicle to overturn.

Relief efforts were still underway as the weather calmed but one shipper in Oman said Mina Al Fahal, the only terminal for the country's 650,000 barrels per day crude exports, remained closed for a third day and the main liquefied natural gas terminal at Sur was unlikely to be operating either.

"Mina Al Fahal is still closed until further notice and they will not give us any more information. They are currently trying to assess the damage at Port Qaboos," the shipper told Reuters, referring to a main cargo port.

"We have not been able to get in touch (with the LNG terminal) but apparently that area was badly hit so it is unlikely to open now."

Further north, the United Arab Emirates' port of Fujairah, one of the world's largest ship refuelling centres, reopened on Thursday morning after closing on Wednesday due to the weather.

Port director Moussa Murad said the port facilities had sustained no damages from high waves caused by the storm.

Oman state television showed streets filled with water and silt. All private and public sector institutions, including the stock exchange, were closed until Sunday due to the storm.

But Oman's central bank governor Hamood Sangour Al Zadjali said it would not have a major impact on the economy.

Shipping and port sources said on Wednesday that operations had continued without disruption through the narrow Strait of Hormuz, a major channel for oil shipments from the Gulf, source of a third of the world's sea-borne oil supplies.

A senior Iranian oil official said the storm was not expected to disrupt supplies from OPEC's number two exporter as its main terminals were inside the Gulf waterway.

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