CROATIAN POLICE SEIZE TONGAN-FLAGGED SHIP BELIEVED TO CARRY ILLEGAL ARMS

RIJEKA, Croatia (Oct. 24, 2002 - RFE/RL)---Police said last Wednesday that they have taken control of a Tonga-registered ship called the "Boka Star" in Rijeka, Reuters reported.

It is believed to be carrying illegal arms and explosives, but it is not clear if the matter is linked to the Yugoimport affair, an ongoing U.S.-led hunt for weapons destined for Al-Qaeda, or anything else.

The Podgorica daily "Dan" reported that the ship's cargo is indeed linked to the Yugoimport imbroglio. But the harbormaster in the Montenegrin port of Kotor denied any connection with the ship on the grounds that it is not registered in Montenegro, RFE/RL's South Slavic and Albanian Languages Service reported.

Copyright (c) 2002. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036. www.rferl.org 

CROATIAN POLICE SAY EXPLOSIVES ON SHIP HEADED FOR IRAQ

RIJEKA, Croatia (Oct. 25, 2002 - RFE/RL)---Croatian police said last week in Rijeka that there is an unspecified quantity of containers of explosives on board the freighter "Boka Star," RFE/RL's South Slavic and Albanian Languages Service reported (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 24 October 2002).

Reuters reported that the powder could be "used for the ignition of Scud missiles" and quoted police sources as saying, "There is evidence that the military equipment...was headed for Iraq."

The ship is registered under a foreign flag of convenience but has a mainly Montenegrin crew and sailed from the Montenegrin port of Bar.

Croatia seized the ship "with the help of the United States and [unspecified] NATO allies," the news agency reported. It quoted an unnamed Western source as adding that this "was not the first time" that such a seizure has been made.

Copyright (c) 2002. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036. www.rferl.org 

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