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Saudi tanker catches fire after explosion off Iran

A Saudi Arabian oil tanker caught fire off the coast of Iran after an explosion in one of its oil storage cells, shipping sources and Lloyd's of London Shipping Intelligence reported Thursday.

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Shipping industry sources in Saudi Arabia said the tanker was in the Persian Gulf, some 30 to 40 miles off the coast of Iran, when it caught fire late Wednesday.

A tugboat came to the aid of the 178,808-ton Sofina al-Arab, and crew members were transferred to another tanker, said the report by Lloyd's, which specializes in insuring ships.

The Saudi sources said the cause of the explosion was not known, but ''the ship was not sunk.''

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