Lebanon Lets The Laodicea Sail To Unknown Destination With Suspected Stolen Goods From Ukraine
Lebanon– The seized Syrian ship of controversy that had been docked in Lebanon has been allowed to set sail from Beirut. Earlier on in the month, Ukraine has passed on a formal message to Lebanon saying that the US sanctioned ship was actually carrying stolen grains from Ukraine.
Apparently, this was one of the 78 ships that have been used to transport stolen grain from what Ukraine considers to be the Russian-occupied territory of Crimea to the Middle East. Since the Ukrainian Russian war, the export supply of essential grains like wheat have been compromised to various parts of the Middle east that are heavily dependent on Ukraine for meeting their food need.
After having inspected that the papers of the ship were in order and that indeed the stuff it was carrying was legitimate, the Lebanese government has allowed it to travel to its destination.
Laodicea had been sanctioned by the US government in 2015 for being associated with Bashar Assad’s government in Syria and a close ally of Moscow. The ship had been docked since last week in Lebanon carrying 10,000 tons of wheat flour and barley. Ukraine says the grain was stolen by Russia, a claim it denies.
It was not immediately clear where the ship is heading but Marine Traffic, a website that monitors vessel traffic and location of ships on seas, showed it moving toward the Syrian coast.
Laodicea’s departure is likely to anger Ukraine. Russia’s diplomatic mission in Lebanon praised the move, accusing Ukraine of lying about the cargo and trying to damage relations between Moscow and Beirut. The spat over The Laodicea came as the first grain ship left Ukraine since Russia’s invasion in late February. The Sierra Leone-flagged Razoni, carrying 26,000 tons of Ukrainian corn, was passing through Turkey on route to Lebanon.