NEWS

Loose casino captured by tug off Evia

A tug yesterday managed to bring under control the 307-meter-long hulk of a would-be aircraft carrier that was being towed from Ukraine to China to serve as a casino when it broke loose of three tugs in a violent storm off Evia in the western Aegean on Sunday. A Greek Super Puma helicopter rescued the seven crewmen (three Russian, three Ukrainians and a Filippino) in winds of over 60 knots off Skyros on Sunday when the hulk broke loose of the tugs. The ship had just been towed out of the Dardanelles. Turkish officials had delayed three years in allowing the huge hulk through the straits. The Varyag was being built as an aircraft carrier when the Soviet Union collapsed and it became the property of Ukraine, which sold it to a gambling company in Macao to serve as a casino. Coast guard officials were following the Varyag closely as it lay 15 miles southeast of Evia yesterday. The vessel has no engines and is a hulk that can be carried away and cause huge problems for shipping safety, a coast guard official said.