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Greek coastguard intercepts Sierra-Leone flagged vessel with 20,000 Kalansikov rifles

A mystery cargo ship, allegedly loaded with weapons, was intercepted by Greek coastguard Greek coastguard in the Aegean Sea on Friday. Cargo ship “Nour-M” with Sierra Leone flag carrying large quantities of weapons and ammunition. the vessel was intercepted in the south-eastern Aegean Sea near the islet of Imia by Kos with some 56 containers with 20,000 Kalashnikov assault rifles and large quantities of explosives, the country’s officials said Friday. While the official destination of the ship was Tripolis in Lybia, the Turkish captain told Greek coastguard that it was sailing to Iskenderun in Turkey.

“Nour-M” isnow held on the island of Rhodes. Its eight-man crew of three Turks and five Indians was detained.

The cargo ship, Nour M, was taken to the island of Rhodes where its Turkish captain,  and seven crew members were arrested, coastguard sources said.

In a statement, the coastguard said efforts to give a full account of the firearms and ammunition on board the cargo ship were continuing.

“The exact destination of the arms and ammunition has yet to be verified,” the statement said.

The state-run Athens News Agency reported that the vessel, which was intercepted near the Greek island of Symi, had set sail from Ukraine and was destined for the Turkish port of Iskenderun.

The ship was also allegedly carrying a large quantity of explosives, ANA said.

 The agency noted that the ports of Tartus in Syria and Tripoli in Libya had also been declared as destination ports to marine traffic systems, while Iskenderun was declared as the destination port by the ship’s captain.

The Nour M was also believed to have been used in the past for drug trafficking, ANA said. (heraldsun)

The vessel was lacking proper U.N. documents for arms shipments in conflict zones and the size of its cargo appeared to be larger than indicated on its loading documents, a coastguard official said on condition of anonymity.

video: Nour-M at Rhodes port

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The ship left port in Ukraine, the official said, citing satellite data. “The vessel’s loading documents were showing it was heading to Libya but its route suggests that it might be heading somewhere else,” he added.

According to MarineTraffic, the ship was in Istanbul, Turkey on 31st of October.

other sources in Greek:, maritime-executive, protothema

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