Trial over Turkey-Libya explosives shipments set to begin in Greece

2018/08/10 – A trial related to a ship suspected of being used to smuggle illegal explosives from Turkey to radical Islamist groups in Libya is set to begin in the Greek port city of Piraeus on Tuesday, Greek newspaper Kathimerini reported.

The Andromeda, a cargo ship registered in Tanzania, was impounded by the Greek Coastguard in January after it was discovered to be carrying hundreds of tons of explosives in 29 containers – a “moving time bomb,” as the Greek officers who discovered it said.

The explosives had ostensibly been on their way to a mining company in Ethiopia. The prosecutors, however, have reportedly gathered evidence, including entries in the bridge log and witness statements, that show Libya as its true destination, Kathimerini reported.

European authorities had their eye on the Andromeda since two months prior to its impoundment due to suspicious movements between Turkey, Egypt and Libya, said Kathimerini.

The vessel stopped in the Turkish ports of Iskenderun and Mersin before heading past Crete, and though it was bound for Djibouti and Oman, the captain reportedly said he had been told to stop in Misrata, a western Libyan city under the control of rebels that analysts say are backed by Turkey.

Eight foreign crew members from Andromeda and a 52-year-old Greek thought to be the ship’s owner are expected to testify during the trial.

The suspected owner, who is being held in pre-trial detention, has said he had no intention of transporting explosives to Libya and had fallen victim to a scam.

Transporting weapons to Libya is banned under a United Nations arms embargo imposed in 2011, the year civil war broke out in the country after an uprising started against deposed dictator Muammar Gaddafi.

Ahval/Sahel-Elite

 

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