ANKARA, Turkey, Apr. 19, CMC — An Antiguan-registered ship has been intercepted in the Mediterranean suspected of carrying Iranian weapons and ammunition to Syria, according to media reports.
The Antigua and Barbuda-flagged Atlantic Cruiser which anchored off the coast of Iskenderun port on Wednesday morning is owned by a German company, Bockstiegel but chartered by a Ukrainian firm, had been stopped on the high seas.
Turkey’s Anatolia news agency said a search of its cargo was delayed until Thursday morning due to stormy weather.
The German shipping firm has denied allegations that its vessel was carrying Iranian arms to Syria, in violation of EU sanctions against the Damascus regime.
The German news magazine Der Spiegel reported at the weekend that the Atlantic Cruiser has been intercepted with Iranian weapons bound for Iran’s ally, Syria.
Bockstiegel said it was not aware that the cargo included arms or ammunition and the Ukrainian company that chartered the ship also said that the cargo contained no weapons, but legal goods for civilian use.
Iran is under a UN arms embargo imposed in 2007 due to its alleged nuclear activities while Western countries have declared a similar embargo against Syria for its brutal crackdown on dissent that began over a year ago.