Ukraine asks Lebanon to bar Syrian ship

Ukrainian officials asked Lebanon on Thursday August 24th to bar Syrian state-owned cargo ship Finikia (IMO 9385233), which Ukraine claimed was carrying stolen Ukrainian grain, reported Reuters, citing a diplomatic note it had seen. The vessel was seeking to dock in Tripoli, Lebanon.

The Ukrainian mission told Reuters that the bulk carrier was transporting 6,000 tonnes of corn, which it considered stolen, from the Black Sea port of Sevastopol.

In the note to Lebanon’s ministries of transport, finance and economy, as well as the customs directorate, the Ukrainian embassy said that the corn had been “stolen from storage units in the Zaporizhzhia, Mykolaiv and Kherson regions”.

It said the ship was “in violation of international law”. It hoped that Lebanon “does not allow the entry of the aforementioned cargo ship Finikia to Lebanese ports to sell stolen Ukrainian grain.”

Lebanon’s ministers of transportation and finance did not immediately respond to Reuters requests for comment. Lebanon’s economy minister said he had not received a formal note, but noted that the Ukrainian embassy had sent similar notes in the past.

Last year Ukraine objected to the Syrian-flagged Laodicea when it docked in Beirut, carrying what Ukraine said was 10,000 tonnes of stolen flour and barley. Lebanon seized the ship, but eventually it allowed it to leave. It sailed on to Syria.

Both the Finikia and the Laodicea are owned by the Syrian General Authority for Maritime Transport (SGAMT).

The SGAMT and the ships it owns have been sanctioned since 2015 by the US for their alleged role in Syria’s war.

Ukraine has estimated that 500,000 tonnes of “plundered Ukrainian grain” had arrived in Syria in 2022 since the February 2022 invasion of Ukraine by Russia.

2009-built, Syria-flagged, 11,767 gt Finikia is owned and managed by Syriamar of Latakia, Syria. As of August 23rd the vessel was underway from Tartous, Syria, to Tripoli, Lebanon, ETA August 24th.