Germany says Turkey has stopped checking the ship for weapons heading to Libya

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© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: The armed personnel of the German Navy stand in front of the frigate Hamburg, which is docked in Port Rashid in Dubai

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BERLIN (Reuters) – Turkey has prevented German forces belonging to a European Union military mission from conducting a full search for a Turkish cargo ship that they suspected is bringing weapons to Libya. Both countries confirmed this on Monday.

Soldiers of the frigate Hamburg boarded the Turkish freighter Rosaline A overnight, but had to post the checks and withdraw after Turkey protested against the EU mission, the German Defense Ministry said.

The frigate operated in the Mediterranean as part of the EU’s Irini mission to prevent weapons from reaching the warring factions in Libya.

“When the soldiers left the ship, they hadn’t found anything suspicious,” said a spokesman for the German Defense Ministry.

Turkish security forces said the Rosalina-A was carrying various materials, such as food and paint, and that the search team violated international law by not waiting for Turkey’s permission.

It was said that the soldiers had found nothing, even though they had spent the whole night opening containers on the ship.

“After the search, which lasted until the wee hours of the morning, the soldiers understood that there was nothing on the ship except humanitarian aid, food like biscuits and coloring materials, and left the ship,” a source said.

The German spokesman confirmed a report in the news magazine Der Spiegel and said that Hamburg intercepted Rosaline A about 200 km north of the Libyan city of Benghazi on Sunday evening.

He said the hamburgers followed the standard procedure by waiting four hours for flag country approval and then boarding. Later, when the objection came in, they withdrew.

“All procedures were followed correctly,” said a spokeswoman for the German Foreign Ministry.

The 16,000-ton container ship left the Turkish port of Gemlik near Bursa last week and, according to Refinitiv Eikon, was last seen before Athens in a south-westerly direction towards Libya.

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