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Iraq gets a merchant fleet again

Baghdad: Iraq's state sea transport company signed a five-year contract with Global Refinery of Switzerland on Monday to jointly operate 66 ships, Iraqi officials and the Swiss firm said The deal gives Iraq its first maritime fleet since the start of the US-led invasion that ousted Saddam Hussein in 2003.?Iraq has access to the Gulf through its Shatt al-Arab waterway. Last year the Iraqi State Company for Maritime Transport bought its first cargo ship.?"This contract is considered a leap in Iraq's maritime business," Ismat Amer, head of the state sea transport company, said at a contract-signing ceremony.?"We want to rehabilitate the infrastructure of the Iraqi state as a whole and this contract is part of rebuilding the infrastructure of the maritime transport sector," Amer said.?The Swiss company is one of eight companies under the umbrella of Saracen Trade and Investment Inc., registered in Tortola, British Virgin Islands with offices in Switzerland, said Zain al-Moussawi, manager of Global Refinery in Iraq.  [21/09/10]

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