The ship was flying under the flag of St. Vincent and was registered as a cement bulk cargo ship. In reality, it was a Turkish ship loaded with weapons and bound for Libya, which a Greek paper speculated may have been on their way to the jihadists in Mali.
“SHOCK – Turkish Ship With Tonnes of Weapons Sails To Volos!,” from HellasFrappe, January 25 (thanks to Joshua):
Port and customs officials were put on alert on Thursday after finding out that a cargo ship that had requested to be refueled (transit oil) at the port of Heracles (in Asteria Agrias) was carrying heavy weaponry and ammunition. Officials immediately informed the ministries of Foreign Affairs, Finance, Merchant Marine and the headquarters of the Hellenic Coast Guard. Following this, officials secured the area around the port and special forces from the Coast Guard conducted a thorough investigation.
According to a report from the Thessaly Journal, the ship “Alexandretta” -which was flying the flag of Saint Vincent- was from Turkey, and although it is registered as a cement bulk cargo ship was in all reality suspiciously transporting a huge quantity of weapons and ammunition. It said that unconfirmed reports also spoke of portable antiaircraft guns and anti-tank missiles, ammunition and infantry weapons such as Kalashnikov guns, etc.
The newspaper noted that the ship was bound for Libya, but also said that it could have been headed towards Mali (which boarders [sic] Libya) to arm Islamic rebels fighting there.
The newspaper, quoting reliable sources, said that as soon as Greek authorities were notified, they surrounded the ship, and prevented any embarking and disembarking to be conducted. For security purposes the ship was then forced to dock at the port of Volos, where it was immediately quarantined and under the watchful eye of competent authorities.
According to legislation, ships transporting weaponry -bound for countries such as Libya, Iran, Syria- are forbidden to pass through Greece. The newspaper said that the ship’s capacity is 4,000 tonnes, but it did not disclose the exact weight of the cargo.
It should be reminded that Yemen authorities had discovered a similar shipment from a Turkish ship last November on the outskirts of the Anten port. The report in the Thessaly Journal noted that at the time, authorities were shocked to discover the $120 million shipment, and even more so when they uncovered that the ship was transporting 3,000 Turkish made pistols with silencers that were well hidden in biscuit boxes!