New theories are beginning to emerge about the cargo of the Bolivian flagged Haddad 1 which is impounded in the port of Heraklion.
The 1976 built cargo vessel owned by Greek shipping company MESOGIAKOS NAVIGATION was travelling from Iskenderun, Turkey to Misurata in Libya when was intercepted off Ierapetra on Wednesday after a tip off, and was taken to Heraklion for investigation. During the unloading of the first two containers, the coastguard found and seized pallets with boxes containing a total of 491 950 of 9 mm bullets, and about 5,000 combat police type shotguns carefully hidden behind a simple load of cupboards and plastic gym mats at the back of the containers. The search of the cargo continues.
While at first it was thought that the weapons were aimed for the IS jihadist fighters in Libya, authorities are now considering other possible scenarios; the type of weapons found are not the assault rifles favoured by IS in the area, the Kalashnikov AK47 or the American M16 recovered from retreating regular forces in combat areas.
Shotguns are not suitable for fighting in these areas of conflict. Likewise the 9 mm bullets are used in light arms, such as the H&K MP5 machine pistols used by the Greek security forces and in popular types of illegally held handguns that exist in very large numbers in Crete.
The type of combat shotgun found on board Haddad 1 ‘suitable for use by the police in enclosed areas’, is also considered to be ideal for firing in Cretan weddings and celebrations – noisy and short range.
The authorities are therefore exploring the possibility that Haddad 1 was planning an unscheduled drop off stop at a secluded area somewhere along the 234 km long south coast of Crete to unload all or part of its cargo for the domestic market.
According to local media reports, in the last few years there have been a number of incidents where the coastguard intercepted cigarette smuggling freighters of similar size to the Haddad 1, in the south coast of Crete.
In November 2013 the Greek Coast Guard intercepted Sierra Leone flagged freighter NOUR M east of Crete with cargo of 20,000 Kalashnikov AK-47s sailing from Iskenderun for Libya. Nour M was taken to the port of Rhodes where it sank in December 2013 during a storm.