Greek authorities have reportedly seized a ship carrying potentially explosive materials from Mersin in Turkey to Misrata in Libya.
The Hellenic Coast Guard Headquarters confirmed to the Libya Herald that last Saturday a Greek lifeguard boat detected the Andromeda ship sailing off the sea of Agios Nikolaos, near the island of Crete, under a Tanzanian flag.
On Monday, the Greek authorities searched the cargo of the ship and found 29 containers of explosives, detonators and other equipment including 11 empty liquefied petroleum gas tanks. On board the ship were eight crew members, including two Ukrainians, five Indians and an Albanian.
The preliminary investigation found that ship’s captain was instructed to go to the port of Misrata to unload and deliver the cargo, in breach of a UN arms embargo in place for Libya.
According to the spokesperson for the Greek Coast Guard, the ship records found the vessel was supposed to be bound for Djibouti and Oman. As a result, the crew of the ship were arrested for violations of articles of the Civil Code, and the cargo seizedThe Greek authorities also informed the competent Anti-Money Laundering Authority and the Terrorism Fund of the seizure of the ship.
In September 2015 a ship also loaded at the Iskenderun port, some 50 kilometres from the Syrian border, was also seized off Crete after it tried to journey to Misrata, containing half a million bullets concealed beneath gym mats and floorboards.
Khalifa Haftar’s self-styled Libyan National Army has in the past accused Turkey, along with Qatar and Sudan, of funding terrorism in Libya.
Since the uprising in 2011, Libya has been placed under an arms embargo which current Prime Minister, Fayez Al-Sarraj, and Haftar have repeatedly called to be lifted.