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Greek coastguard seizes ship with 29 containers carrying explosive materials

The vessel, headed to Libya, was sailing off the coasts of Crete

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11 January 2018

Greek authorities detected a suspicious Tanzanian-flagged ship named 'Andromeda' heading for Libya while sailing near Agios Nikolaos, Crete. Meanwhile, a 2011 arms embargo imposed by the European Union and United Nations prohibits the sale, supply or transfer of arms to Libya.

The coastguard seized the vessel and discovered 29 containers carrying explosive materials such as ammonium nitrate, including non-electric detonators and 11 empty liquefied petroleum gas tanks. The cargo had been loaded and checked at the Turkish ports of Mersin and Iskenderum and was destined for Djibouti and Oman, according to the bill of lading found on board.

“The materials were headed to Libya,” Rear Admiral Ioannis Argiriou told Reuters. "[the materials could be used] for all sorts of work, from work in quarries to making bombs, and acts of terrorism”.

Following the seize, the ship was directed by the authorities to Heraklion port where a preliminary review took place.

The Greek coastguard found at least 102 heavy violations of the safety code endangering the lives of the ship’s crew. Finally, it was uncovered that the captain had been ordered by the vessel’s owner to sail to the Libyan city of Misrata to unload and deliver the entire cargo. The lack of sailing maps on the ship has also raised some serious concerns.

Eight crew members have been arrested and will face prosecution on Thursday (local time).

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