US embassy cable - 97COLOMBO3477

LTTE ATTACKS SHIP CHARTERED BY US COMPANY

Identifier: 97COLOMBO3477
Wikileaks: View 97COLOMBO3477 at Wikileaks.org
Origin: Embassy Colombo
Created: 1997-09-09 10:25:00
Classification: CONFIDENTIAL
Tags: MOPS PTER PREF PGOV EWWT CE
Redacted: This cable was not redacted by Wikileaks.
P 091025Z SEP 97
FM AMEMBASSY COLOMBO
TO SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 0636
INFO AMEMBASSY KATHMANDU PRIORITY 
COMSEVENTHFLT 
CINCPACFLT PEARL HARBOR HI//N2/N3//
USCINCPAC HONOLULU HI//J2/J233//
JICPAC HONOLULU HI//IA4/IT3/0IX/OSS//
USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 
CDRUSARPAC FT SHAFTER HI//APOP-IM//
AMEMBASSY BANGKOK 
AMEMBASSY SINGAPORE 
AMEMBASSY PANAMA 
AMCONSUL KARACHI 
AMEMBASSY ISLAMABAD 
AMCONSUL CHENNAI 
AMEMBASSY LONDON 
AMEMBASSY DHAKA 
AMEMBASSY NEW DELHI 
DIA WASHINGTON DC
AMEMBASSY BEIJING 
AMEMBASSY JAKARTA 
AMEMBASSY SEOUL 
C O N F I D E N T I A L COLOMBO 003477 
 
 
DEPT FOR SA/INS 
KATHMANDU PLEASE PASS A/S INDERFURTH 
 
E.O.  12958:  DECL: 07/10/07 
TAGS:  MOPS, PTER, PREF, PGOV, EWWT, CE 
SUBJECT:  LTTE ATTACKS SHIP CHARTERED BY US 
COMPANY 
 
REP:  COLOMBO 2714 
 
1.  (U)  CLASSIFIED BY: MICHAEL OWEN, ECONOMIC 
COUNSELOR.  REASON 1.5 (D) 
 
2.  (C)  INITIAL REPORTS INDICATE THAT AT 
APPROXIMATELY 0100 LOCAL TIME SEPTEMBER 9, THE 
LIBERATION TIGERS OF TAMIL EELAM (LTTE) 
ATTACKED THE MERCHANT VESSEL "CORDIALITY" 
WHICH WAS ANCHORED OFF THE NORTHEAST COAST OF 
SRI LANKA NEAR THE TOWN OF PULMODDAI, 
APPROXIMATELY 30 MILES NORTH OF TRINCOMALEE. 
UP TO 20 PEOPLE HAVE BEEN REPORTED KILLED, 
WOUNDED OR MISSING IN THE ATTACK, INCLUDING 
LOCAL WORKERS, FOREIGN CREWMEN (POSSIBLY 
CHINESE), AND ARMED FORCES PERSONNEL GUARDING 
THE SHIP.  THERE WERE NO REPORTS OF AMCITS ON 
BOARD.  BY LATE MORNING OF SEPTEMBER 9, THE 
SHIP'S ENGINE ROOM WAS REPORTEDLY ON FIRE AND 
THE SHIP IN DANGER OF SINKING.  SRI LANKAN 
NAVY PERSONNEL WERE ATTEMPTING TO EXTINGUISH 
THE FIRE. 
 
3.  (C)  THE M/V CORDIALITY IS REPORTEDLY 
OWNED BY THE CHINA OCEAN SHIPPING COMPANY, A 
CHINESE STATE-OWNED ENTERPRISE; IT WAS 
REGISTERED IN PANAMA AND FLYING A PANAMANIAN 
FLAG.  THE SHIP WAS UNDER CHARTER BY THE U.S. 
COMPANY "ACI CHEMICALS, INC." OF GREAT NECK, 
NEW YORK, TO TRANSPORT 30,000 TONS OF 
ILMENITE, A MINERAL SAND, FROM SRI LANKA TO 
ROTTERDAM AND THEN, POSSIBLY, TO THE UNITED 
STATES. 
 
4.  (C)  COMMENT:  THIS IS THE THIRD INCIDENT 
INVOLVING CIVILIAN SHIPPING SINCE JULY 1 (SEE 
REFTEL), BUT THE FIRST OCCASION WHEN A SHIP 
SAILING UNDER U.S. CHARTER HAS BEEN ATTACKED. 
IT IS DOUBTFUL THAT THE LTTE WOULD HAVE BEEN 
AWARE THAT THERE WERE U.S. INTERESTS AT STAKE 
WHEN ITS CADRES ATTACKED THE "CORDIALITY". 
HOWEVER, IT HAS BECOME INCREASINGLY CLEAR THAT 
THE LTTE IS WILLING TO ATTACK FOREIGN 
INTERESTS IN ITS EFFORTS TO INTERDICT SHIPPING 
TO THE NORTH.  END COMMENT. 
 
SMYTH 


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