Spain refuses docking to cargo ship carrying explosives from India to Israel

Spain refuses docking to cargo ship carrying explosives from India to Israel

Spain has refused docking permission to the Denmark-flagged 'Marianne Danica', carrying 26.8 tonnes of explosives from India to Israel.

Spain Refuses Docking to Cargo Ship Carrying Explosives from India to Israel Spain Refuses Docking to Cargo Ship Carrying Explosives from India to Israel

Spain has announced that it has denied docking permission to a Denmark-flagged cargo ship reportedly carrying 26.8 tonnes of explosives from India, destined for Israel.

Spanish Foreign Minister Jose Manuel Albares informed reporters in Brussels that Spain had refused to allow the 'Marianne Danica' to dock at Cartagena on May 21. "This is the first time we have taken such action because it is the first instance of detecting a ship carrying arms to Israel seeking to dock at a Spanish port. The Middle East needs peace, not more weapons," Albares stated.

Spain has been a vocal critic of Israel's military actions in Gaza, a stance that has divided European opinion on the issue. Madrid co-sponsored a UN General Assembly resolution advocating for Palestine's full membership in the United Nations.

Marine tracking website Vessel Finder reported that the 'Marianne Danica' departed Chennai on April 8, traveled around the African continent, and reached the West African port of Cape Verde on May 13. Currently off the coast of Morocco, the ship is scheduled to arrive in Cartagena on May 21.

El Pais newspaper disclosed that the ship is carrying 26.8 tonnes of explosive material. According to records obtained by El Pais, the sender is India's Siddharta Logistics Co., and the recipient is Israel Cargo Logistics (ICL).

The ship's long route, circumventing the Red Sea, is likely to avoid the Houthis' targeting of marine traffic bound for Israel.

Spain's announcement coincides with a political controversy over another ship, the Antigua and Barbuda-flagged 'Borkum.' Pro-Palestinian groups claimed it was carrying weapons for Israel from India. Marine records show that 'Borkum' anchored in Cartagena for 11 hours on May 16 before heading to Koper, Slovenia.

On May 16, Spanish Transport Minister Oscar Puente posted on X, stating that 'Borkum,' which had docked in Las Palmas, Spain, was not transporting weapons to Israel but was en route to the Czech Republic. He asserted that campaign groups and political opponents had confused it with 'Marianne Danica,' which the Spanish foreign ministry had denied docking.

El Pais earlier reported that documents obtained by a pro-Palestinian group and seen by the newspaper indicated that 'Borkum's' final destination was not Slovenia but the Israeli port of Ashdod or Haifa. Ashdod is approximately 30 kilometers from Gaza.

The documents mention the Slovenian port in handwriting, noting, "Koper (for Ashdod)."

According to an open letter from MEPs to the Spanish president, the company named in the documentation is IMI Systems, owned by Elbit Systems, Israel's largest weapons firm.

The leaked documentation seen by El Pais includes a confidentiality clause preventing crew and employees involved in the transport from mentioning Israel or IMI Systems.

The transit document lists 'Borkum's' cargo as 20 tonnes of rocket engines (UN code class 1.3C 186), 12.5 tonnes of rockets with explosive charges (code 181), 1,500 kg of explosive substances (477), and 740 kg of charges, propellants for cannons (242), originating from an Indian company based in Pune.

Large shipping companies like the Danish Maersk maintain direct maritime routes between Slovenia and Israel, reported the Spanish newspaper.

The Wire previously reported that India's Munitions India Ltd had exported ammunition to Israel, as per official records, and had reapplied on April 18, 2024, to export the same order to Israel.

Premier Explosives Ltd. (PEL), a private company, received permission to export explosives and allied accessories twice since Israel's war on Gaza began last year – on November 20, 2023, and January 01, 2024.

Last month, India abstained from voting in the UN Human Rights Council on a resolution calling for an arms embargo on Israel and an immediate ceasefire in Gaza.

Edited By: Puja Mahanta
Published On: May 17, 2024