Rome: The crew of an Italian tanker was evacuated by helicopter Saturday after the ship ran aground off Sicily in storm-tossed seas, and took on water in its engine room.
The Italian coastguard said all aboard were plucked to safety, despite fierce gusts of wind and rain. The Gelso M., with an all-Italian crew, was caught on a reef near the port town of Syracuse, on the island`s southeast coast.
The ship had come to rest at such an angle that it was impossible to lower lifeboats, or for rescue vessels to approach, said the coastguard. It was not carrying cargo, and there appeared to be no immediate danger of pollution.
It was not clear why the ship ran aground, but storms bringing heavy rain and strong winds were lashing Sicily Saturday.
In January, the Costa Concordia, an Italian cruise ship, rammed a reef off the Tuscan island of Giglio in good weather and capsized. Twenty-five people died and seven others are missing and presumed dead.