By Hadi Fornaji.
Tripoli, 9 November 2013:
It is not yet clear if Tripoli was the real destination of a vessel arrested in . . .[restrict]Greek waters with an undeclared cargo some 20,000 Kalashnikov assault rifles, along with what Greek officials have described as significant quantities of ammunition and high explosives.
The Sierre Leone-flagged MV Nour M was detained on Friday by Greek coastguards and escorted to Rhodes. When the real nature of its cargo was discovered, the Turkish captain and seven crew were arrested.
The 75-metre long cargo vessel had left the Ukrainian shipbuilding port of Mykolaiv on 25 October, apparently bound for Libya. However from 30 October to 3 November it had anchored off Istanbul. It appears that besides Tripoli, various different destinations, including the southern Turkish port of Iskenderun and Tartus in Syria were given to maritime authorities. Marine traffic reports show that when the Nour M left Istanbul, it slow-steamed in the eastern Aegean before being stopped in Greek territorial waters off the island of Symi.
It is alleged that in the past the Nour M has been involved in drug smuggling.