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M/V Atlantic Cruiser Arrived In Turkey

The course and the location of M/V Atlantic Cruiser

The German owned and Antigua Barbuda flagged merchant ship M/V Atlantic Cruiser arrived in Iskenderun, Turkey this afternoon.

The ship suspected of carrying military equipment and weapon from Iran to Syria had shut down its AIS transponder for almost 24 hours On Monday.

Officials in Germany are still seeking information about a German-owned ship believed to be carrying a load of weapons and military equipment that had been destined for the despotic regime of Syrian leader Bashar Assad. Since the revelation on Friday, it appears that transponder used to broadcast the ship’s whereabouts has been turned off repeatedly. On Monday, though, it appeared to be on again, with the 6,200 ton freighter ship apparently on a course towards Turkey.

The ship had been stopped near the coast of Syria on Friday afternoon, but then disappeared from sight for around 24 hours. Then, on Sunday night, the Atlantic Cruiser’s transponder was turned off again.

After having attracted international attention, the captain has been maneuvering the ship through the eastern Mediterranean for days now. SPIEGEL has obtained information indicating that the ship is carrying heavy military equipment from Iran that had been intended to reach the forces of Bashar Assad, despite a European Union weapons embargo that has been placed against his repressive regime. German government officials expressed alarm over the development this weekend. It’s no wonder, either: If the suspicion is confirmed, it would mean that a German ship is violating the weapons embargo. It might also lead the international community to question whether Germany is taking decisive enough steps to enforce sanctions against the Assad regime.

According to Turkish media reports, officials from Customs, Police and Directorate General of Health for Border and Coastal Areas, boarded the ship and inspected its papers and interviews the crew after M/V Atlantic Criser arrived in Iskenderun.

A detailed inspection of the ship and her cargo is scheduled for tomorrow as the weather today was not suitable for such undertaking.

Click for a video of the ship in Iskenderun.

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