A representative of the shipping company that owns the “Andromeda”, which was stopped on Jan 7 by the Greek Coastguard, leading to the discovery of 29 containers full of explosives and detonators on board, said on Jan 11 that there was nothing illegal about the shipment.
The vessel was stopped off Crete as it was heading to Libya but captain Theodoros Rellos said that the ship should not have been seized and that its crew should not have been taken into custody. The eight crew members appeared before a prosecutor in Piraeus on Jan 11.
Authorities claimed sea safety laws had been breached and that the ship had dozens of problems. The “Andromeda” was carrying 29 crates of explosives and other materials used in bomb making. The skipper told investigators that he had been ordered by the ship’s owner to sail to the Libyan port of Misurata and not Djibouti, the destination listed in the ship’s itinerary.
According to the ongoing investigation “Andromeda” has also approached ports in Cyprus recently. Asked why the freighter had been sailing from port to port in the last two months laden with 410 tons of explosives, Rellos claimed that the ship had been chartered by two Turkish companies that owned the merchandise, but defaulted on their obligation to pay.
The two Turkish companies did not pay also the toll for the Suez Canal so that the ship could use this to go to its destination in Djibouti. Due to the nature of the cargo it headed from anchorage to anchorage,” Rellos said. Regarding claims by Andromeda’s captain that he had been asked to take the cargo to Libya, Rellos said that this had been part of an effort to find reliable storage for the cargo, which was offered by Misurata port in Libya, but the company had opted not to go.
Asked about the 102 safety concerns relating to the ship’s seaworthiness cited by the Greek Coast Guard inspectors, Rellos said the ship was carrying out its last trip before it was to be dismantled in Turkey.
Source: Vessel Tracker