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Detained ship was carrying over 5,000 firearms plus ammunition

Over 5,000 firearms and more than 490,000 rounds of ammunition have been found onboard the suspicious general cargo vessel arrested in Crete yesterday, and there could well be more still to be found.

The weaponry (pictured) is believed to have been bound for Islamic State forces in Libya.

The Bolivia-flagged singledecker general cargo vessel Haddad 1 (1,400 dwt, built 1976; pictured below) was arrested yesterday while en route to Misrata, Libya. The ship is now anchored at the port of Heraklion in Crete.

Two containers that were loaded at the vessel’s last port of call, İskenderun port in Turkey, were found to contain 5,000 police-type shotguns and 491,950 9-mm bullets, according to reports from the Greek Coastguard. The vessel was carrying 14 containers at the time of its arrest.

The Coastguard said the weapons and ammunition were “carefully hidden” deep inside the containers behind other cargo such as drawers, cupboards and gymnastics mats.

None of the vessel’s documents mention the existence of the illegal cargo, the agency said. The 12 other containers that remain onboard are still being inspected.

“The coordinated efforts, the immediacy in business, the high sense of professionalism, seriousness in the preparation and the combination of all information, led to the identification of this ship and the large quantity of arms and ammunition,” Greece’s Minister of Marine, Christos Zois, said in a statement.

“The count of weapons and ammunition is continuing and we hope that soon we will have more information on this case.”

Haddad 1 is commercially managed by Piraeus-based IMS Hellenic, according to Equasis. Its registered owner is Haddad Shipping Co.

All images courtesy of the Greek Coastguard.

Holly Birkett

Holly is Splash's Online Editor and correspondent for the UK and Mediterranean. She has been a maritime journalist since 2010, and has written for and edited several trade publications. She is currently studying for membership of the Institute of Chartered Shipbrokers. In 2013, Holly won the Seahorse Club's Social Media Journalist of the Year award. She is currently based in London.
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