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Judi Lynn Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-23-09 06:30 AM
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Manila detains ship for arms smuggling
Source: Reuters

Manila detains ship for arms smuggling
Web posted at: 8/22/2009 7:52:5
Source ::: REUTERS

MANILA: Philippine authorities have seized a Panama-registered cargo ship and its crew after the vessel was found to contain crates of assault rifles when it docked at a local port without prior notice, officials said yesterday.

Customs and coast guard officials boarded the 5,421 gross ton ship on Thursday and found five crates containing 50 Israeli-made Galil assault rifles, they said. Ten empty crates were also found.

The ship came in to the Mariveles port, northwest of the capital. The ship just docked at the port of Mariveles without any prior notice, which made port and customs officials suspicious, said coast guard spokesman Armand Balilo.

The ship was bound for Batangas province south of Manila from a port in Turkey based on a map found on board. Authorities are investigating whether it was transporting firearms to illegal syndicates, local warlords or militant groups. These guns are the primary weapon of the Israeli army, Balilo said. This is dangerous if it falls into the wrong hands.

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