German-Owned Freighter Loaded with Military Equipment, Ammunition Stops Near Syria
A German-owned freighter loaded with military equipment and ammunition heading to Syria, was stopped on Friday 50 kilometres (31 miles) away from the Syrian port Tartus, a German Magazine Der Spiegel reports.
The ship “Atlantic Cruiser”, leased to a Ukrainian company, White Whale Shipping, was intercepted after a tip-off that it was carrying weapons, originating from Iran and destined for President Bashar Assad’s army, despite the EU embargo on weapons in force.
According to a shipping agent Torsten Lüddeke of Hamburg-based C.E.G. Bulk Chartering:
“The company declared to us as cargo mainly pumps and similar things. We never would have allowed weapons on board. For now, the 6,200-ton ship will stay where it is.”
Reportedly, the ship owned by Emden-based Bockstiegel, had loaded weapons in Djibouti which had been brought there by a vessel from Iran.
Intelligence experts say that the route between Djibouti and Tartus is known as a path for transporting weapons, which is confirmed by a similar incident that occurred earlier this year with another Syria bound ship carrying weaponry. Namely, a ship from Russia carrying munitions was halted in Cyprus, however it managed to arrive to Syria even though the ship’s captain assured the local authorities that he will change course and head to another port.
As confirmed by the German Economics Ministry the authorities are conducting an investigation on the event.
Naval Today Staff , April 16, 2012;