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  • Under Olympic Cover, Russian Cargo Ship Approaches Syria

    MV Alaed
    Under the cover of the 2012 London Summer Olympics, the Russian cargo ship MV Alaed, allegedly carrying attack helicopters for the Bashar al-Assad regime, is once again en route to Syria. In addition to the attack helicopters, it is thought that the ship is also carrying air defense weapons.

    Nobody seems to notice.

    Only nine weeks ago, in June, when the ship made its first attempted voyage to Syria, the world’s attention immediately turned to the ship and to Russia’s irresponsible behavior. At the time, the ship was forced back to her Russian port after a U.K. intervention saw that its shipping insurance—provided by a London-based company—was revoked in accordance with EU sanctions.

    In July, The Foundry pointed out that the Alaed had once again left its Russian port—but this time under a Russian flag. It is thought that this will get the Alaed around the insurance problems and EU arms embargo it faced during its last journey in June.

    Since its second departure, the ship seems to be making good progress.

    After circling around the Scandinavian Peninsula, the ship briefly stopped at the Russian city of St. Petersburg. Curiously, according to the ships records, it also had another short stop in the Swedish port of Helsingborg.

    After departing St. Petersburg, the ship passed through the English Channel in early August. During this time it must have passed within 75 miles of the Olympic Stadium in East London—but with Olympic fever hitting the British capital, nobody noticed or cared in the same way they did in June.

    Presently, the ship is well into the Mediterranean Sea and is located about 70 miles of the southern coast of Spain. Assuming it keeps its current speed of 11 knots, it should reach the Russian naval base in Tartus, Syria, in approximately seven days—if that is where it is heading.

    The lack of interest and attention that the ship’s voyage is receiving the second time around shows how powerless the West is to stop this ship from continuing.

    The voyage of the Alaed shows the irresponsibility of the Russian government to allow a transfer of attack helicopters and other weapons to a regime that is responsible for the brutal slaughter of more than 15,000 of its own citizens. It also shows once again that the Obama Administration’s “reset” policy with Russia has been a complete failure.

    (The progress of the ship can be tracked on the MarineTraffic.com by searching for “Alaed” as long as the ship is not out of range or turns off its Automatic Identification System Transponder.)

    Posted in International [slideshow_deploy]

    3 Responses to Under Olympic Cover, Russian Cargo Ship Approaches Syria

    1. Bobbie says:

      …can't we all just get along?

    2. Tom says:

      The M/V Alaed won't be stopping in Syria. It will simply be using the Suez Canal in order to get to Russian Far East.

      The Russians have decided for the time being to suspend arms shipments to Syria. That includes the contract for the Yak-130 aircraft. The Syrian Mi-25 attack helicopters were offloaded in the Baltic last month.

      Syria Helicopter Ship Returns to St. Petersburg

      'The ship, at the center of a diplomatic row between Russia and the West, has offloaded the aircraft in the Russian port of Baltiysk in the Kaliningrad region, a security source said on Friday. The Alaed docked at St. Petersburg later in the day. The helicopters were originally overhauled at the 150th aircraft repair plant in of Kaliningrad.“We haven’t received them yet… They are being returned to us,” the plant spokesman said.'

      Even the Russian Task Force currently in the Mediterranean is keeping away from docking in Tartus. The last thing that the Russians want at this stage is to be accused of docking vessels in Tartus that can be interpreted as delivering arms.

      Russian Task Force Replenishes Supplies at Sea, Not in Syria

      'Russian warships deployed in the Mediterranean Sea will not call at Syrian port Tartus to replenish supplies, writes RBC referring to Russian Defense Ministry's press service.

      At present, the Russian Navy's interfleet force has started replenishing supplies by means of auxiliary vessels. These functions are performed by Black Sea Fleet (BSF) oiler Ivan Bubnov and salvage tug MB-304. When the replenishment is over, the task force will continue deployment program. It is planned that the ships will enter the Black Sea in order to call at Novorossiysk Naval Base.'

      Russia Picks Politics Over Syria Arms Exports

    3. Tom Hill says:

      The M/V Alaed has transited the Suez Canal on its way to the Russian Far East.

      '2012-08-15T23:55:00 (UTC)

      Lat/Lon: 28.17355 / 33.293571
      Speed/Course: 13.9 kn / 145°'

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