Thursday, February 06, 2020

Ban the Boat

The Saudi Arabian ship, Bahri Yanbu, is heading toward Sheerness docks, after abandoning plans to dock at Antwerp where protesters, calling themselves “citizen weapons inspectors”, set up a checkpoint to halt any flow of arms. Bahri, the state-owned shipping company that owns the Yanbu, confirmed to Belgian media that military equipment was onboard.

Campaigners have now called on the British authorities to refuse permission for a vast Saudi ship carrying military equipment to dock in the UK because the Gulf kingdom is still embroiled in the war in Yemen.

Andrew Smith of  Campaign Against the Arms Trade (CAAT) said: “This ship must be turned away. If it is carrying weapons for use in Yemen then they could be used in war crimes and abuses for years to come.” He added: “Arms-dealing governments like the one in the UK have played a central role in strengthening the Saudi dictatorship and fuelling the devastating war in Yemen.”
The ship has travelled from North America, where it has docked in the US and Canada, and is travelling around Europe before heading to Saudi Arabia and other nearby countries.
On a previous visit to several European ports in May 2019, the vessel was carrying US-manufactured military components and equipment worth $47m (£36m), much of it linked to military aircraft, according to Amnesty International. Containers of arms were loaded onboard in Belgium and Spain, and howitzer cannon were due to be loaded in France although pressure groups in the country successfully took legal action to halt the arms transfer at the time.

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