Russian Ship Carrying Munitions To Syria Halted By Britain

  • 12:00 AM, June 19, 2012
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Russian Ship Carrying Munitions To Syria Halted By Britain
En route to Syria, a Russian cargo vessel called the MV Alaed was stopped off the coast of Scotland after a dubious clause was invoked by British marine insurer Standard Club and withdrew cover from all the ships owned by Femco, a Russian cargo line, including the MV Alaed. The ship was caught transporting missiles and refurbished Mi-25 attack helicopters which it picked up from Kaliningrad, the Russian port, where the choppers originally sold to Syria in the 1980’s were being serviced and repaired. Acting on the advice of British security officials, the Standard Club withdrew its insurance cover for the shipment which would have otherwise found the company violating European Union sanctions against Syria. "We were made aware of the allegations that the Alaed was carrying munitions destined for Syria," the company said in a statement. "We have already informed the ship owner that their insurance cover ceased automatically in view of the nature of the voyage". British authorities were made aware of the loophole by the U.S late last week and swooped in the first chance they got. As the ship closed in the Dutch coast, it had been hailed by the authorities but made an abrupt turn and headed towards Scotland. It had reached the cost of Hebrides on Monday night when it was stopped. "By mutual agreement, the contract between the ship owner and United Nordic Shipping A/S for the commercial management of the MV Alaed was annulled today, on Monday June 18, without actually coming into force," Femco said in a statement on its website. The incident comes days after US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton said that Russia supplies helicopters to Syria. Her statement was strongly denied on Wednesday by Minister Sergei Lavrov saying Russia was “completing the implementation of contracts that were signed and paid for a long time ago” and that the contracts "concern exclusively anti-aircraft defense”. “We are not delivering to Syria, or anywhere else, items that could be used against peaceful demonstrators,” Lavrov was quoted as saying.
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