A Russian ship suspected of carrying a cargo of attack helicopters and missiles for Syria has been effectively stopped from continuing its journey following an intervention by the British government, the Foreign Office said Tuesday dpa reported
It confirmed a report in the Daily Telegraph newspaper that British marine insurer Standard Club had withdrawn cover from MV Alaed, a ship owned by Russian cargo line Femco, at the behest of the government. Insurance cover had also been withdrawn from all other vessels owned by the line.
The Alaed had effectively been stopped in its journey off the coast of north-west Scotland, northern Britain. It had altered course after being hailed by the Dutch authorities, the Telegraph said.
"We are aware of a ship carrying a consignment of refurbished Russian-made attack helicopters heading to Syria," a statement from the Foreign Office.
It said that Foreign Secretary William Hague had made it clear to his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, during a meeting on June 14, that "all defence shipments to Syria must stop."
"We are working closely with international partners to ensure that all measures taken against the Syrian regime, including EU sanctions, are fully implemented."
"We will look urgently into any suggestion of involvement of British individuals and/or British companies in breaching (the) EU arms embargo on Syria.
According to the Telegraph, Standard Club has confirmed that insurance cover has been withdrawn from all ships owned by Femco.
"We were made aware of the allegations that the Alaed was carrying munitions destined for Syria," the company said in a statement. "We have already informed the ship owner that their insurance cover ceased automatically in view of the nature of the voyage."