Cyprus files UN report on Iranian ship

US suspects ship contains arms shipment destined for Hamas; conclusions of UN report undisclosed.

iranian boat 248.88 (photo credit: Screen shot)
iranian boat 248.88
(photo credit: Screen shot)
Cyprus said it has submitted a report to the United Nations on the cargo of a container ship that the US suspects is carrying arms from Iran to Gaza. The Foreign Affairs Ministry said in a statement Tuesday that authorities have completed two inspections of the ship and have sent a report of their findings to the UN Security Council Sanctions Committee. No details about the ship's cargo were given. The United States raised suspicions that the Cypriot-flagged container ship Monchegorsk was ferrying arms from Iran to the Palestinian terrorist organization Hamas. The vessel arrived off the island's southern port of Limassol last week and remains anchored there. Last Friday, Cypriot President Dimitris Christofias said the ship was searched by local authorities because of the US suspicions. "We're handling this responsibly, I can't at this time make any remarks that ... may create more problems," Christofias said. The Cypriot president went on to say that Cyprus was "investigating what it's carrying and I've told you that we must handle these things very responsibly and very seriously and without a lot of clamor in the media." On Thursday night the Cypriots stopped the ship on its way to Syria, defense officials told The Jerusalem Post. The Cypriot-flagged vessel was stopped by the US Sixth Fleet in the Gulf of Aden earlier this week on its way to Egypt, where it was believed to have planned to unload its cargo, which was then to be smuggled into the Gaza Strip. The US Navy searched the ship with permission of the captain and found "small munitions," but the vessel was allowed to continue its voyage after the search, and was bound for Syria. The US said it lacked the authority to seize the cargo. The ship had initially tried docking in Egypt but was denied access by the Egyptian Navy.