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Seized titanium rods at Piraeus port reportedly bound for Iran

Titanium rods and high-tech lathes, which are raw materials that can have civilian, commercial, but also military use, have been seized by customs officers at the port of Piraeus. They were loaded at the port of Shanghai in China and, according to information from a foreign agency that reached the Money Laundering Authority, were destined for Iran.

Indicative of the seriousness of the case is that, in addition to customs officials, members of the military and the Fire Brigade were recruited with special equipment to deal with nuclear and radiological threats, and took part in the investigation to seize the cargo.

The case began to unfold in late February when two containers were loaded on a cargo ship of the giant Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) from the port of Shanghai in China, bound for Istanbul.

The customs declarations listed a multinational logistics company with branches in China and Turkey as both the consigner and consignee of the cargo. The documents also described the contents of the containers, namely titanium bars, a high-tech lathe for processing titanium and containers with chemicals.

The titanium bars and the lathe are classified as raw materials and objects that can have civilian, commercial and military uses. Their movement is controlled under relevant EU directives.

The cargo ship carrying the two containers left China on February 25. In the period that followed, the Laundering Authority and its head, Charalambos Vourliotis, were informed by a foreign agency of the ongoing transport of the titanium bars. The initial information was about one rather than two containers and was passed on to the officers of the Piraeus Customs Department.

Customs officials checked the shipping documents of all containers on board the cargo ship and found that the Chinese company was behind the shipment of not one but two containers of titanium. Although the original plan was to transit through Piraeus, they were ordered to be unloaded at the customs area, which they were. [kathimerini]

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