Activists Claim Ship flying Antigua and Barbuda Flag was carrying arms to Israel

The content originally appeared on: Antigua News Room
German cargo ship “Borkum.”
(photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)

Editor’s Note: Antigua and Barbuda has a very popular ship registry service that allows vessels globally to sail under the Antigua & Barbuda flag. From time to time we receive reports that these Antigua Flagges ships are involved in controversy. The ships are not necessarily Antigua-owned ships although they may fly the country’s flag. Please be aware of this as you read the post below.

Source Jerusalem Post– A German-owned cargo vessel flying the flags of Antigua and Barbuda, Borkum, has been recently caught up in a metaphorical storm in Spain after anti-Israel activists and politicians claimed that the ship was carrying arms to its final destination – Israel. The ship is expected to set sail from the Port of Cartagena today at noon.

The BDS group in the Spanish city of Murcia even presented a document that allegedly showed that the cargo ship sailed sailed from India bound for Israel, though it is not certain that this document was indeed related to said ship.

The Spanish government announced yesterday that the ship’s final destination is Czechia, but this did not convince anti-Israel activists and politicians, who continued to propagate an online campaign to block the ship and carry out an inspection of its contents, as well as call for an investigation of the parties involved.

Spanish activist Luis Arbide, who followed the issue from up close, also claimed that the ship’s manifest specifically mentioned IMI (Israel Military Industries) as the cargo’s destination, adding that Czechia is Israel’s fourth arms supplier across the globe.

Spanish politicians from the left-wing party Podemos further propagated the campaign against the cargo ship. Yesterday, the ex-minister of the Equality Ministry and the current European Parliament candidate, Irene Montero, noted that the party filed a complaint with the National Court to have the Borkum detained and its cargo inspected. “The law prohibits Spain from facilitating the transit of military material that could be used to commit genocide. Not acting makes us responsible,” she added in a tweet.

Demonstrators hold signs and Palestinian flags, as people call for a ceasefire in Gaza during a rally to commemorate Nakba Day, amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas, in Madrid, Spain, May 11, 2024. (credit: REUTERS/Isabel Infantes)

Likewise, Spain’s Social Rights Ministry’s ex-minister and current leader of Podemos, Ione Belarra, announced yesterday that the party communicated to Spain’s Transportations Minister, Oscar Puente, that the party’s representative from Murcia, Javier Sanchez Serna, will be arriving at the facilities at the Port of Cartagena to “check, first-hand, the situation of the ship Borkum, suspected of carrying weapons to Israel for the genocide.”

Sanchez himself tweeted: “We have learned about the Borkum cargo ship that arrives this afternoon in Cartagena and is transporting 20 tons of rocket engines and 1,500 kilos of explosive substances,” imploring the minister not to obstruct his duty as representative.

In the same context, the Spanish parliamentary group Sumar registered a complaint with the Prosecutor’s Office to initiate the procedures aiming to block the route of the Borkum, a move many have seen as an implication that the cargo ship does indeed have arms meant for Israeli use.

The Borkum affair made many headlines in Spanish media, with popular Canal Red TV conducting an interview with the former director general of the Merchant Navy, José Antonio Madiedo, who claimed that “the only way to identify these goods is to inspect them.”The activities were not confined to Spanish activists alone. UN Rapporteur Francesca Albanese also took part in the online campaign, claiming in a tweet that the ship “poses a challenge to Spain’s stance on human rights, particularly amid the ongoing Gaza atrocities.”Albanese added: “I place my trust in the people of Spain – students, educators, intellectuals, workers, civil society, and politicians – to make sure that an effective arms embargo on Israel is progressively and fully enforced.”The ship was filmed yesterday by anti-Israel activists from the coast of the region of Murcia. 

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