German ship suspected of arms smuggle turns transponder on

April 16, 2012 21:10


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BERLIN/KIEV - A German shipping company ordered its vessel Atlantic Cruiser to turn its transponder back on on Monday after the ship suspected of smuggling Iranian arms to Syria switched off the tracking system because its crew feared attack, the firm said on Monday.

The W. Bockstiegel shipping company also said in a statement it had no information about any weapons on board the ship which was originally destined for Syria. Sending weapons to Syria would be in violation of a European Union arms embargo.

In Kiev, the Ukrainian company that chartered the ship denied there were arms on board and said its cargo was civilian goods.

"The shipping company has no current knowledge that the ship's cargo contains anything other than what was described in the documentation as civilian goods," the Emden-based shipping company said in a statement, its first comments on the issue.

The German company said it ordered the ship, which was chartered to a Ukraine-based company, not to continue its journey until questions about its cargo could be cleared up. It said it instructed the crew to turn its transponder back on.

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