Turkey protests after Germany board Turkish cargo ship

Turkey has protested both to Germany and to the EU after German forces belonging to an EU military mission boarded and tried to search Turkish cargo ship Roseline A (IMO 9163984),which they suspected of taking weapons to Libya.

The German defence ministry said that soldiers from the frigate Hamburg, part of an EU mission enforcing a UN arms embargo, had boarded the Roseline A overnight on Monday. It said that they withdrew after Turkey raised objections with the EU mission, which had ordered the search.

Turkey released footage showing armed men in military uniform marshalling sailors with their hands on their heads on the bridge of the Roseline A, which had been at sea southwest of the Greek Peloponnese peninsula.

Turkey said the vessel was carrying humanitarian aid and that the Hamburg had violated international law by not waiting for permission from Turkish authorities to board. Turkey summoned the EU, German and Italian ambassadors to hear its protest.

Germany said that, after four hours had passed with no reply to a request to board, it was standard practice to consider this as implicit permission. “All procedures were followed correctly,” a Foreign Ministry spokeswoman said.

The German Defence Ministry said that nothing suspicious had been found by the time they were ordered off the ship.

Turkish Foreign Ministry spokesman Hami Aksoy said the Roseline’s captain had shared information with the Hamburg about his ship’s freight and its course.

“Despite this, at 17:45, armed forces from the Irini Operation boarded the ship and carried out a ‘monitoring’ that lasted long hours,” he said.

“We protest this act, which was carried out by force and without authorisation (and) retain the right to seek compensation.”

The 16,000-tonne container ship left the Turkish port of Gemlik near Bursa last week, and was last seen heading southwest towards Libya, said Reuters, citing Refinitiv Eikon data. 1998-built, Turkey-flagged, 11,153 gt Roseline A is owned By Arkas Konteyner Tasimacilik AS and managed by Arkas Denizcilik Ve Nakliyat of Izmir, Turkey. It is entered with Standard Club (International Division) on behalf of Arkas Konteyner Tasimacilik AS