Lawyers for a Lebanese-flag ship detained off the coast of Honduras after failing to inform authorities of a cargo of explosives called the detention “arbitrary and unjust” as well as discriminatory to Arab crew members.
“The ship should be allowed to leave immediately; if not, we will sue Honduras,” said Adolfo Pena, spokesman for a team defending the crew of the M/V Abdul Rahman, owned by the Arab B&C Club of Lebanon.
The ship, which is transporting 900 metric tons of mine blasting material and fuses, was detained upon arrival in Puerto Cortes on November 23. Honduran authorities said that the crew failed to give port officials the 72 hours advance notice required under law that it was transporting the explosives.
The ship has been anchored 13 kilometers off shore and guarded by police and soldiers. U.S. experts who inspected the ship on Tuesday and Wednesday determined that the explosives had not been adequately secured and posed a danger.
The ship’s Canadian owner, Egyptian captain and a first officer from the Sudan have been charged by Honduran prosecutors with illegally transporting explosives and threatening the environmental security of Puerto Cortes. They were fined $10,000 by the merchant marines.