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Ship’s Owners Claim they Did Not Know About Weapons

shi.jpgNaval commandos were dispatched in small crafts, traveling some 150 kilometers from the Israeli coast, to apprehend the cargo ship Francop, which is operated by the UFS Company, flying a Antiguan flag as was reported earlier.

Israel Navy Brigadier-General Roni Ben-Yehuda announced that the ship was carrying “hundreds of tons” of weapons and ammunition, some “advanced weaponry”, believed intended for Hizbullah. The senior naval officer added the vessel was laden with “over ten times” the amount of weapons and ammunition than found on the Karin-A in 2006.

The operation was dubbed Four Species, with naval commandos receiving accurate intelligence information, permitting the next phase of the operation, intercepting the freighter. Ben-Yehuda explained they did not know which containers contained the ammunition, so they opened “random samples”, revealing 122mm rockets, small weapons, hand grenades and more. Defense establishment officials stated with absolute certainty the vessel originated in Iran and the cargo was intended for Hizbullah. The ship left the Port of Damietta in Egypt, heading for Limassol, Cyprus. According to reports, the vessel was to dock in Beirut on Thursday, and then continue on to Syria over the weekend.

UFS spokesman Paniatois Emirs announced his company rented the vessel and that they had no idea it was intended to smuggle weapons and ammunition. He added that he was aware the ship would be transporting containers, adding they do not have the right to inspect the cargo, which they believed was a legal shipment. He added that he hopes the incident does not negatively impact relations between Israel and Cyprus, adding the company was an innocent victim in the matter.

(Yechiel Spira – YWN Israel)

11 Responses

  1. The ship left the Port of Damietta in Egypt. Is Egypt in the game too? I always wonder why Israel doesn’t call Egypt’s bluff in playing a double game; on the one hand pretending to the Western world that it has a benign presence on the border of Egypt and Gaza, and at the same time closing its eyes to tunnel digging and a “one direction” “smuggling” (if it can be called so) of weapons into Gaza. Has Israel decided that it’s better to play along with Egypt then to call its bluff? Who makes those decisions?

  2. #2, I think we should definitely be the ones to make these decisions. No one else has the knowledge that we have, unless the Israeli intellegence also reads YWN.

  3. rebshalom, you are starting to reveal yourself. No, I am not practicing hate. I am only making an observation of the Arabs. They believe in their prophet who the Ramban refers to as that crazy one. Their prophet has psychotic episodes and his followers believe that he has prophecies from G-d.

    Did I insult you and your brethren enough?

  4. Ah rebshalom, do you think that I believe that you are a torah observant Jew? And what did I comment; I said they are practicing time honored Arab tradition. Cypriots were lying for propaganda purposes. The Arabs do it all of the time. What is the over reaction and criticism about?

  5. #4 sam rose, sometimes I wonder, where is their intelligence? Sometimes, someone looking from the outside sees better. These are life and death decisions of how many Yiden are expendable, and the Gedolei Yisroel are definitely not making those decisions.

  6. From 1967 to 1970 I served as a deck seaman on U.S.merchant ships. It is credible to me that the crew, and even the owners, probably were not aware of the cargo;

    Back in the day when cargo that was handled by shipboard booms/cranes, and was hauled aboard in nets, the crew had some ability to see what was coming on to a ship – in the case of containers that is not true – they come aboard sealed, and all you have to go by are the shipping papers . . . and whatever random inspections are carried out by law enforcement authorities.

    An apt analogy I think is a taxi driver with a passanger’s suitcase in his trunk – he’s not going to know what’s in it.

  7. #12 YonasonW, that might go for most of the crew, but someone among the crew must have known. No one leaves a ship in port unattended and blindly allows containers to be packed withoout having a clue of its contents or sender.

  8. Ben Melech (#13)- Noone among the crew would have any reason to know. It’s not a matter of leaving a ship unattended – watches are stood 24/7 – but it really is a matter of being “blind.”

    The way it works is this:

    Containers, identified only by number and matched to commercial shipping documents, are loaded by heavy dockside cranes. If the paperwork identifies the goods as Ploni ben Ploni’s household goods – there is no way to verify that the container indeed holds those goods – as opposed to, say, boxed AK-47s.

    A good part of Homeland Security’s concern with containers, and the attempts to develop remote sensors of contraband, is precisely because of this “blindness.”

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