Captain Confesses that “Bana” was Carrying Freight of Weapons and Armored Vehicles from the Turkish Army for Libya – Al Marsad

The captain of the Lebanese ship, the “Bana”, has confessed to the Italian authorities who ceased the cargo ship in Genoa at the Messina Terminal on 2 February 2020, under suspicion of arms trafficking from Turkey to Libya. The ship’s captain admitted that he had seen the fully tracked vehicles and weapons in the ship’s warehouse and dozens of Turkish soldiers were on board to monitor the shipment which was loaded in the Turkish port of Mersin. The ship’s crew said that the Turkish army and secret intelligence services asked them to lie about the reason for stopping in Libya and to say it was due to malfunction.

[Libya, 19 February 2020] – The ship was first spotted by French Navy aircraft carried Charles de Gaulle in Libyan waters, and it was then escorted by Turkish Navy frigates to Tripoli. The Libyan National Army Command issued a statement, accusing the ship of illegal transportation of arms, including tanks and armoured cars, from Turkey to Libya. Italian authorities believed it made at least three sailings from Turkey to Libya. All ship’s documentations, including logs and electronic logs, were seized.

The Italian authorities stated that the main decision of the ship seizure came after suspicion about the presence of weapons on board the Bana. Suspicions were raised when tracking traffic of the ship from Turkey to the port of Tripoli, according to a report published by Italian news website of Genova24, known for close ties with local authorities.

The Italian website provided additional updates on Tuesday stating that the general prosecutor in Genoa will demand the defendant, the ship’s captain, to clarify reasons behind taking the tortuous paths from Turkey to Tripoli.

The cargo vessel Bana being escorted by a Turkish navy frigate to Libya.

According to the media report the Italian coastal guard police and some concerned officials carried out preliminary investigations of the ship in coordination with the prosecutors in the city of Genoa.

The captain confessed that he had seen the fully tracked vehicles and weapons in the ship’s warehouse and added that dozens of Turkish soldiers were on board to monitor the shipment.

He also said that the shipment was carrying smaller vehicles equipped with radar and jeeps with anti-tank guns, machine guns, artillery and rockets, and weapons were being loaded, in violation of the ceasefire from the Turkish port of Mersin.

The media report also quoted the ship’s crew who said that the Turkish army and secret intelligence services were asking the crew to lie about the reason for stopping in Libya and asked them to say that the stopping was due to a malfunction.

The crew admitted to being involved in transporting this arms-filled shipment and making at least three trips before they were arrested and the ship was seized immediately after arriving at the port of Genoa in Italy.

© Al Marsad English (2020)

 

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