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Dozens missing as ship sinks near Lebanon

  • Uruguayan ship sinks about 11 miles off the coast of Tripoli
  • Lebanese and U.N. forces launch rescue operation
  • Authorities say people on board were wearing life jackets

BEIRUT, Lebanon (CNN) -- A ship with 83 people aboard sunk off the coast of northern Lebanon on Thursday , a military spokesman said.

The Uruguayan ship sunk about 11 miles off the coast of Tripoli, Lebanon, said Gen. Saleh Suleiman, a Lebanese military spokesman.

Naval forces from Lebanon and from a United Nations force in Lebanon were searching for survivors. Rescuers found two people, and authorities believe that most people who were aboard the ship were wearing life jackets, he said.

The ship was carrying livestock bound for Tartous, Syria, but it was not immediately clear whether the ship was on its way there or whether it already had reached its destination and was returning home, he said.

CNN's Nada Husseini contributed to this report