A British marine insurer said Tuesday that it had cancelled cover for a Russian ship because of allegations that the vessel was carrying attack helicopters destined for Syria.
Standard Club said it had withdrawn insurance for the MV Alaed, which the Daily Telegraph newspaper said was owned by Femco, a Russian cargo line and which had now stopped off the Scottish coast.
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“We were made aware of the allegations that the Alaed was carrying munitions destined for Syria,” the company said in a statement provided to AFP.
“We have already informed the ship owner that their insurance cover ceased automatically in view of the nature of the voyage.”
'Insurance cover ceased automatically.' The Russian 'Alaed' ship
The Daily Telegraph quoted British security officials as saying they had told Standard Club that providing insurance for the shipment would likely breach European Union sanctions against Syria.
The United States notified the British government last week that the insurance on the ship was British, sister paper the Sunday Telegraph reported at the weekend.
The MV Alaed picked up its cargo of Mi-25 helicopter gunships from the Russian port of Kaliningrad, where they had been sent for servicing and repairs, the paper said.
Moscow originally sold them to Damascus at the end of the Soviet era.
The British government was not immediately available to comment.
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton accused Russia one week ago of fuelling the violence by sending attack helicopters to Syria, which she said were “on the way.”
Russia last week said it was not making any new deliveries of attack helicopters to Syria and has only carried out repairs of helicopters sent there many years ago.
In Moscow, news reports Monday said that Russia was preparing to send two warships to the Syrian port of Tartus where Moscow operates a strategic naval base to ensure the safety of its nationals.