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Posted: 6/23/2003 10:16:55 AM EDT
[url]http://www.kyw1060.com/news_story_detail.cfm?newsitemid=30301[/url] Greece has seized a cargo ship that had been wandering the Mediterranean Sea with 750 tons of explosives aboard. Officials are now trying to determine whether the ship or its cargo had links to terrorism. The "Baltic Sky" set off from Gabes, Tunisia, last month with the explosives and 8,000 detonators and fuses destined for Sudan, said Giorgos Anomeritis, the Greek merchant marine minister. Greek coast guard agents, who had been tracking the ship since it left Tunisia, boarded it Sunday in the southern Ionian Sea and forced it to dock Sunday in a tiny port 145 miles northwest of Athens. Investigators are questioning the seven-member crew -- five Ukrainians and two Azerbaijanis -- and trying to determine if the shipment has any links to terrorism, Anomeritis said. Anomeritis said the ship was carrying TNT, but shipping documents provided by Greek officials described the cargo as a commercially manufactured ammonium nitrate-based explosive known as ANFO, which is often used in mining and construction. The reason for the discrepancy was not immediately clear. The ship's manifest said the cargo was bound for a company in Sudan, but Greek officials claim it was only a post office box address. No other details were given on the firm noted the ship's papers, Integrated Chemicals and Development. Sudan has been a base for Islamic militant groups -- including for al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden before he went to Afghanistan in the mid-1990s. Concerns about terrorism have escalated following recent bombings in Saudi Arabia and Morocco. In Kenya, the US Embassy was temporarily closed Friday and air traffic was restricted after the terrorism threat level was raised. The Baltic Sky's crew could face charges of illegally transporting explosives.
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