FRANCOP WEAPONS SHIP SEIZED BY ISRAEL
According to the officials, the Francopm carried advanced weaponry including missiles, and the incident was apparently similar in scope to the seizing of the Karin A ship intercepted in 01/2002 off the coast of Gaza.
The ship is currently docked in the Ashdod port, and being unloaded for further inspection.
On midnight 11/04/2009, after unloading 150 containers out of over 300 on the ship, an estimated of 500 tons of weapons were uncovered, including over 3,000 Katyusha rockets 122mm and 107 mm. The Katyusha un-precise rockets have no other use then to shell, indiscriminately, large targets such as urban areas.
A month ago, Der Spiegel reported that the US Navy had boarded a German cargo ship near the Suez Canal that was carrying ammunition from Iran to Syria or Hizbullah (see – Hansa-IndIa ).
According to intelligence sources the Francop uploaded the 300 containers in the Egyptian port of Damietta, on 11/01/2009. The containers cargo, according to the papers, was raw plastic materials and in each container the weapons were, indeed, hidden behind lines of white bags of raw plastic. The containers were brought to Damietta few days earlier by the Iranian ship Visea (formerly called Iran Zanian). The Visea is owned by the IRISL Corporation, Iran’s national shippers. The Visea is now sailing around Northern Europe.
The Francop peas released on Thursday 11/05/2009 morning to continue its tour but without the Iranian weapons.
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