Two sailors were rescued three days after their ship sank off UAE waters on its way from Ajman to Iran.
Lt Col Abdullah Al Mazyoud, head of the ports police in Dubai, said two of the six crewmen onboard the ship are alive, but the body of a third man was recovered. Three others are still missing.
The ship had sunk on December 23 when the ports' centre in Ajman reported that the vessel was neither emitting signals nor responding to calls.
"It emerged that the ship's captain had called the owner after leaving the port to inform him that the waves were too high and that he preferred to go back to Ajman after sailing for 10 nautical miles," Lt Col Al Mazyoud said.
"The owner asked him then to get back to shore, after which communication was cut off."
All crewmen onboard were Indian nationals. The Malaysia-flagged ship, which is owned by an Indian man, was planning to import diesel from Iran.
The report of the missing ship came to the attention of the Dubai Police "a bit late", according to Lt Col Al Mazyoud. He added that the two surviving sailors had fought for their lives for three days, as they held on to their passports.
"Three are still missing, and until now the shipwreck has not been located. The search, however, is ongoing in territorial waters," he said.