INTRO: A small boat said to be carrying heavy explosives has rammed a U-S warship which was docking in Yemen, killing four U-S sailors. V-O-A Middle East Correspondent Scott Bobb reports 36 U-S sailors were wounded and 12 are still missing.

TEXT: The attack occurred around noon as the destroyer U-S-S Cole was refueling at the Yemeni port of Aden.

A spokesman for the U-S Navy's Fifth Fleet in Bahrain, Lt. Commander Daren Pelkie, says the ship is in no danger of sinking.

/// PELKIE ACT 1 ///

It's under control. They have emergency electrical power to the ship. Flooding has been controlled. There were no fires. And they are pier side as they were when refueling.

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The spokesman says the blast blew a hole six meters by 12 meters-wide into the hull of the ship. He says a small boat was seen alongside the ship when the explosion occurred.

The destroyer had sailed through the Suez Canal several days ago on its way to the Persian Gulf where it was to join the U-S led enforcement of international sanctions against Iraq.

Commander Pelkie says the navy had received no specific threats prior to the incident.

/// PELKIE ACT 2 ///

No specific threats in terms of someone calling in a threat or something like that. We keep a high state of readiness at all times and we will have to investigate what caused this specific incident.

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He said medical personnel and investigators are being sent to Aden.

Yemeni authorities reportedly have sealed off a large area around the port but have made no public comment on the incident. (Signed)