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Memorial Services for Officers Seamen Who Died in Ship Disaster

Israel’s largest seaport was in mourning today as memorial services were conducted for the 24 officers and seamen who died when the bulk carrier Mezada foundered in the North Atlantic near Bermuda on March 8, the worst disaster in the history of Israel’s merchant marine.

Flogs were lowered to half most aboard Israeli and foreign ships berthed at Haifa port or anchored in the bay. Families and friends of the deceased assembled outside the offices of the Zim Lines, Israel’s national shipping company, which owned the Mezada.

There were no eulogies. But Labor Minister David Levy, representing the government, promised that a thorough investigation would be made into the sinking of the 660-foot vessel to determine why she was lost and to avoid such disasters in the future.

Yehuda Rotem, managing director of Zim, noted that the company had suffered no similar tragedy in its more than 30 years of existence. The Zim Lines were founded in 1946, two years before Israel gained independence.

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