Germany investigates report ship carrying arms to Syria

Son of Govinda

Regular Member
Apr 1, 2012
Germany investigates report ship carrying arms to Syria | Reuters

(Reuters) - Germany said on Saturday it was investigating a report that a German-owned ship in the Mediterranean en route to Syria was carrying Iranian weapons in breach of an arms embargo.

Germany's Der Spiegel reported the ship loaded the cargo in Djibouti this week and changed course for Iskenderun in Turkey on Friday when the cargo was at risk of being uncovered.

It then stopped about 80 km (50 miles) southwest of the Syrian port of Tartus, its initial destination, it said. No other details were available on the ship's movements.

A spokeswoman in Berlin said the Economy Ministry was looking into a media report that the ship, part of the fleet of German-based shipowners Bockstiegel, was transporting Iranian weapons bound for Syria.

"We are looking into information that the embargo was breached," the spokeswoman said.

Der Spiegel's website reported that the Atlantic Cruiser had been chartered to a Ukraine-based company, White Whale Shipping, which had declared the cargo as "pumps and the like".

Der Spiegel quoted ship broker Torsten Lueddeke of Hamburg-based C.E.G. Bulk Chartering as saying: "We stopped the ship after we received information on the weapons cargo".

Bockstiegel and C.E.G. Bulk Chartering were not immediately available for comment.

The Ukrainian company denied the Atlantic Cruiser was carrying weapons, according to Spiegel Online. "The ship is not transporting dangerous or militarily significant freight to Syria," Spiegel cited the Ukrainian firm as saying.

The Economy Ministry confirmed the ship was owned by a German company, which had chartered it to foreign operators.

Western sanctions imposed on the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad include an arms embargo and a ban on importing Syrian oil into the European Union.

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