Femco claims Alaed was carrying food aid to west Africa.
Russia Admits to sending refurbished helicopters as Femco denies having picked up cargo
THE Russian Foreign Ministry has confirmed that the Femco vessel Alaed was carrying a cargo of refurbished helicopters for destined for Syria.
Spokesman Alexander Lukashevich told reporters that the ship is heading for the port of Murmansk with Mi-25 helicopters on board “which are the property of the Syrian government”.
The helicopters had been sent to Russia for repair under existing agreements between the two countries.
The announcement followed a strong denial from Femco that Alaed had picked up the helicopters from Syria.
Femco issued a statement that listed Alaed’s ports of call, said to have been taken from the ship’s AIS logbook. During the period when Alaed was allegedly travelling towards Syria, Femco says it was unloading a cargo of rice at Porto Praia in the Cape Verde Islands.
“When, according to suppositions of the mass media, the loading of helicopters could take place in Syria, Alaed was carrying and discharging the humanitarian cargo in the port of Praia, Cape Verde within [a] worldwide programme of aid to the countries of Africa,” the company statement said.
“This is evidenced by electronic data of the global monitoring system. The misrepresentation by the mass media is evident.”
The evidence provided shows the that Alaed was at Porto Praia discharging its cargo between May 9-May 20. The next AIS log entry offered indicates Alaed loading at St Petersburg, Russia on June 5, 2012.
However, Femco has yet to account for the vessel’s aborted voyage from Kaliningrad, which it left on June 11.
Alaed had its P&I cover withdrawn earlier this week, following allegations that it was transporting war material to the embattled regime of president Bashar al-Assad. The vessel has now turned back to Russia.
(Source: Lloyd’s List)