Rescuers give up on freighter stranded by Ike off Gulf Coast

Other News Materials 13 September 2008 00:50 (UTC +04:00)

A Cypriot freighter stranded 150 kilometres southeast of Galveston in the Gulf of Mexico continued Friday to flounder as Hurricane Ike bore down on the Texas coast, media reports said, reported dpa.

A rescue attempt for the captain and 21 crew members was cancelled by the US Coast Guard and Army because it was too dangerous, CNN reported.

The freighter is loaded with petroleum coke, the Houston Chronicle reported online.

Tens of thousands of people have fled low-lying coastal areas in Texas, and another 250,000 have fled the inland city of Houston ahead of Ike, which was expected to slam into the land mass between 0200 and 0600 GMT.

The category-2 storm carries winds churning at 195 kilometres an hour which could speed up as Ike moves across the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico.

By 1200 GMT Friday, half of Galveston, a barrier island in the Gulf of Mexico, was already submerged as police and firefighters moved through the town to evacuate the last holdouts. A handful of people are believed to have remained behind.