The Lebanese authorities proceeded to seize the Syrian ship Ludisia, docked in the port of Tripoli, following complaints by the Ukrainian ambassador to Lebanon to the Lebanese president that the ship carries stolen wheat and barley from Ukraine.
The Syrian government, according to local news, sent an official objection to the Lebanese government against the decision to seize the ship, reportedly expressing surprise by PM Mikati’s position to “ignore” Damascus’ objection.
The Syrian government reportedly warned that this step would leave negative repercussions on the relations between Lebanon and Syria.
Lebanese State Prosecutor Judge Ghassan Oueidat decided to seize the ship for three additional days, asking the Internal Security Forces (ISF) to supervise investigations to verify the source of the cargo it was carrying.
According to the Lebanese Minister of Works, Ali Hamiyah, the ship had passed through more than one port and the goods seem official and not stolen.
However, the Ukrainian embassy in Beirut issued a statement on July 31 that it had received documents and proof from Ukraine that the shipment of flour and barley on board the ship was stolen from Ukraine.
The embassy also stated that it will submit a request to Tripoli’s judge of urgent matters to extend the detention period.
Foreign Minister Abdullah Bou Habib issued earlier that Lebanon had received warnings from the United States and a number of Western countries, after the ship’s arrival at the port of Tripoli last Wednesday.
On the other hand, it was reported that the Russian embassy will present documents on Aug 1, 2022, proving the legality of the shipment and its departure from a Russian port.
Ludisia belongs to the Syrian government company Syriamar (it was subject to US sanctions in 2015), and it was filmed crossing the Bosphorus Strait towards the Mediterranean on July 23.
It had unloaded part of its cargo at the port of Tartous, coming from Izmir, Turkey, before continuing its way to the port of Tripoli to unload the imported quantities for the private sector.
Information was circulated, including that the Loyal Agro company sought to import 5,000 tons of flour on the ship to sell it to private buyers in Lebanon.
And that the owner of the shipping company is Turkish, while the goods belong to a Syrian merchant. He was supposed to unload part of the ship’s cargo in Lebanon and the rest in Syria.