Hellenic Coast Guard seizes ship with illegal weapons 40309154

Defence & Security News - (Greece)
Hellenic Coast Guard seizes ship with illegal weapons 40309154
The Hellenic Coast Guard (HCG) seized on Tuesday morning, a merchant ship full of illegal weapons considered to be bound to the jihadists in Misrata, Libya having loaded the illegal shipment at the Turkish port of Iskenderun. MV Haddad 1 was located and stopped 20 n.m. Southeast of Ierapetra city in Crete island.
Hellenic Coast Guard seizes ship with illegal weapons
Source: Hellenic Coast Guard

The operation was organized after the HCG Directorate of Security and Protection of Maritime Borders acquired intelligence about the shipment.

The Bolivian flag vessel, with a crew from India, Syria and Egypt, was approached by an HCG offshore patrol vessel and taken over by a special operations team. MV Haddad 1 was later accompanied to the Heraklion port for an extended search by the security forces, while being heavily guard.

The shipment included a total of 14 containers. Until now two of them have been opened and the Greek Authorities have found well hidden, behind boxes containing plastic drawers, shelves and gym mats, more than 5,000 police type carbines and almost 492,000 9mm bullets.

According to the Greek Media, the vessel seemed to belong to a shipping company based at the port of Piraeus in Greece. However, the information has proved to be fake as the Greek Authorities have seized documents aboard the ship indicating that it belongs to a company based in Egypt.

Greek Media sources mention information based on research material collected by a US NGO, according to which MV Haddad 1 has been part of a network that transfers weapons from Ukraine towards Syria and Libya.

It is not the first time that the Greek Authorities have arrested ships illegally carrying weapons to ISIS in Libya or Syria. In January 2013 a search on MV Alexandretta resulted in three containers full of weapons being confiscated. In November 2013 MV Nour-M was stopped and the authorities found 32 million rounds for Kalashnikov and anti-aircraft weapons bound to Libya. In June 2014 the MV Valeria was found to be carrying fibres used in the production of bulletproof jackets. In December 2014 the MV Giorgia shipment of lubricants was confiscated as the shipping company was put in the EU list of illegal companies cooperating with the Syrian regime. Finally, in February 2015, MV Tychy, bound to Libya through Turkey, was found to be carrying illegally armoured vehicles.

The successful anti-trafficking and anti-terrorism operations have been the result of the adoption of a new legislation by the Greek State in 2011, which allows for a quick reaction and enhanced interoperability between national and international agencies. The new legislation is considered to be one of the most effective worldwide.