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Iraqi Oil Terminal Fire Burns Itself Out

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, May 26, 2006 – U.S. and coalition naval forces are currently providing assistance to the Iraqis in the aftermath of an oil terminal fire that burned itself out this morning, U.S. military officials here reported today.

Coalition Task Force 158, responsible for maritime security operations in the North Arabian Gulf, received a report of a fire on Khawr Al Amaya Oil Terminal at 8:52 a.m. local time.

Initial reports indicate that contract work being performed on the KAAOT pumping system caused the fire.

Several Iraqi personnel were injured in the fire. No U.S. personnel were injured. Most personnel aboard the terminal have been evacuated, with a small number remaining.

KAAOT, the older of Iraq's two oil terminals, only provides about 5 percent of Iraq's oil distribution capacity, officials said. The other platform, the Al Basra Oil Terminal, is only a few kilometers away in the North Arabian Gulf. Both are important economic facilities for Iraq.

CTF 158 works with the Iraqi military forces to provide security for the two terminals. Led by U.S. Marine Brig. Gen. Carl Jensen, the task force consists of ships from U.S., United Kingdom and Australian navies, as well as the U.S. Coast Guard.

U.S. sailors also work alongside their Iraqi marine counterparts aboard the Khawr Al Amaya and Al Basra terminals to provide point defense against attacks.

(Based on U.S. Naval Forces Central Command news releases.)

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