EU Watch

Ships Suspected of Carrying Weapons Will Not Dock in Genoa

The first round has been won by the dockers and the pacifist associations. And the suspicious part of the cargo, which could be used for warmongering, will not leave the port of Genoa.

by Louis Labarriere
The harbor of Genoa

Bahri Yanbu, the merchant ship with the Saudi flag renamed "the ship of arms", has ended up at the centre of an international lawsuit.

Cargo ship loads more weapons in Le Harve, dockers protest in response

The cargo ship left Antwerp in Belgium with a variety of weapons in the hold, and it had to stop at Le Havre in France to add eight Caesar guns to its cargo, with the final destination being Djibouti via Jeddah, in Saudi Arabia.

However, various associations and French dockers have protested against this transport. They are alarmed by the idea that the guns on board the ship could be used in the conflict in Yemen. The next stop was planned in Genoa on Monday 20th of May, where the boat arrived at dawn. In Genoa, no weapons were planned to be loaded , but only of "civil" materials, at least on the basis of the assurances of the Prefecture and the Coast Guard. However, the situation worsened when it was learned that the list included two generators of the Defense Tecnel of Rome, whose products are sometimes used in support of war operations.

Genoa port workers strike to block ship delivering weapons to the Middle East

It all started when a journalistic investigation by the French site Disclose revealed the arms route between France and Saudi Arabia. In the light of this news, the Prefecture and the Captain's Office explained that no weapons would be loaded, but only civil goods. The boycott campaign against the ship has recovered, thanks in particular to the commitment of the CGIL (Italian trade union), which has an internationalist leadership. This union has received broad support, including from important Catholic associations such as the Salesians and the Acli.

At dawn of the 20th of May, the ship docked in Genoa harbour and immediately port workers went on a strike and wrote on banners: "Harbours closed to arms, open to migrants"

The fear is that in Genoa, or at least in Italy, there is talk of a second Bahri Yanbu stopover in La Spezia (near to Genoa) or Cagliari in Sardinia, where other weapons or equipment for the Saudi army could be loaded onto the ship.


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