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Cablegate: Turkey: Detention of Scan Bothnia a Reminder Of

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

UNCLAS ANKARA 003671

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: MARR MOPS PREL PGOV IZ
SUBJECT: TURKEY: DETENTION OF SCAN BOTHNIA A REMINDER OF
STRAITS PASSAGE PROCEDURES

1. The British-flagged vessel Scan Bothnia, en route from
Ukraine to the United Arab Emirates (UAE), was detained on
June 9 at the port of Derince near the Bosporous by Turkish
Coast Guard and Customs authorities on the suspicion that it
was illegally smuggling US military equipment.

2. Acting on a media tip-off, Turkish authorities boarded
the ship at Derince, a transit port, and found six military
recovery vehicles and twenty crates of parts, inside of which
were an additional six containers of machine guns. According
to Turkish authorities, the weapons were not listed on the
transit application form and, when questioned, the ship's
captain did not acknowledge the presence of weapons on board.


3. Taos Industries, the US contractor for the heavy tracked
recovery vehicles, contacted us on June 9 to request
assistance in freeing the ship. The company provided
documentation substantiating that the six vehicles and
related parts, including defensive weaponry, were ordered by
the US Tank-automotive and Armaments Command (USTACOM) for
delivery to US forces in Iraq and eventual transfer to the
Iraqi Security Forces. After confirming the bonafides of the
company and placement of the order by TACOM, we requested MFA
assistance to gain the vessel's release. On June 17, the
vessel was released.

4. According to the MFA, the ship was detained because the
ship's transit application form, which requires
acknowledgment of the number and type of any weaponry
contained in the cargo, only listed "general parts." We have
notified Taos Industries, which has a contract for the
delivery of up to 66 tracked recovery vehicles to US forces
in Iraq, that all weaponry must be specifically listed on the
transit application and should be acknowledged by the ship's
personnel.

5. COMMENT: This avoidable oversight cost the ship a
one-week delay in reaching its final destination and may
result in additional delays in the UAE, where the vehicles
are to be transferred to a US-flagged vessel for final
delivery to Iraq. US military equipment has traversed the
Turkish Straits previously without incident. The lesson of
Scan Bothnia case is that contractors and/or shippers must
clearly and properly notify the Turkish authorities of the
military cargo they are carrying through the Bosporous. END
COMMENT.

Visit Ankara's Classified Web Site at
http://www.state.sgov.gov/p/eur/ankara/

WILSON

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