Sunday, June 17, 2012

#Syria: #US enlists #UK clout to stop Syria-bound Russian ship allegedly carrying attack helicopters

The US government has enlisted Britain's help in a bid to stop a cargo ship suspected of carrying Russian attack helicopters and munitions to Syria. Curiously, the media mention a model of chopper which does not exist.

­Washington is painting the alleged shipment as being in breach of the Syrian arms embargo, with a view to affecting the ship’s insurance cover.

The MV Alaed is a multipurpose twin-deck cargo vessel operated by Russia’s FEMCO Group. It is allegedly making its way to the conflict zone in Syria via the North Sea after picking up helicopters from the Russian Baltic port of Kaliningrad.

The current European Union arms embargo against Syria, imposed in May last year, suggests a ban on the "transfer or export" of arms and any related "brokering" services, including insurance.

The American government is presumably trying to use this legislation to force the vessel's London-based insurer to withdraw its cover. This would make it difficult for the ship to dock legally in ports and could force it to return the cargo to the port of origin.

Interestingly, all the media sources refer to “Mil Mi-25” helicopter, suggesting a single source of information. No such model, however, has ever been produced by the Moscow chopper-maker Mil more