Spain denies docking request by Israel-bound ship carrying weapons
05/21/2024 // Belle Carter // Views

A vessel bound for Israel has been denied admission to dock at one of Spain's ports on Thursday, May 16. Spanish Minister of Foreign Affairs Jose Manuel Albares said in a statement that the ship, coming in from Chennai, India, was carrying arms.

"This is the first time we have done this because it is the first time we have detected a ship carrying a shipment of arms to Israel that wants to call at a Spanish port," Albares told reporters in Brussels. "This will be a consistent policy with any ship carrying arms to Israel that wants to call at Spanish ports. The foreign ministry will systematically reject such stopovers for one obvious reason: The Middle East does not need more weapons, it needs more peace."

As per marine tracking portals and the Spanish media, the cargo ship Marianne Danica sailed on April 8 and was en route to the Port of Haifa in Israel. The Danish-flagged vessel carrying 27 tons of explosive materials had requested permission to call at the southeastern Port of Cartagena on May 21.

Spain has banned its defense industries from selling weaponry to Tel Aviv in response to the Israeli offensive in Gaza. Albares confirmed back in February that since Oct. 7, the Spanish government has not granted permits for arms exports to Israel because the nation realized its significance as a "fair and lasting solution" to the Palestinian dilemma.

"We welcome the decision of the Spanish government to deny the transit authorization of the vessel Marianne Danica, per Tratado [treaty] on Arms Trade and Spanish law," the international non-governmental organization focused on human rights Amnesty International's Spain chapter posted on X, formerly Twitter.

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Spain's refusal to grant a port call for the Israel-bound ship came at the same time as the dispute between Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez and his coalition partners over another ship, the Borkum, which was due to dock in Cartagena last Friday. Accusations surfaced that it was also carrying weapons intended for Israel. The armaments being transported, the Spanish authorities claimed, were intended for the Czech Republic. When the ship finally canceled its stopover in Spain, it headed for Slovenia instead. (Related: Spain to officially recognize Palestinian state, calls on Western powers to do the same.)

Spain one of few European nations openly critical of Israel's offensive in Gaza

Spain has been one of Europe's most critical voices when it comes to Israel's Gaza offensive and is working to rally other European capitals behind the idea of recognizing a Palestinian state.

When Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu claimed that the Israeli military's killing of seven international aid workers in Gaza from the World Central Kitchen was "a tragic incident," Sanchez was one of the most outspoken critics of this fake apology.

The Spanish prime minister described Netanyahu's "supposed explanations" as "totally unacceptable and insufficient."

Sanchez has used his position to speak up amid concerns that the European Union is failing to live up to its moral, political and humanitarian duties amid the glaring civilian death toll in Gaza.

Under Sanchez's premiership, Spain has declared its intention to recognize and open diplomatic relations with the State of Palestine by July and has been sharply critical of the "truly unbearable" number of dead Palestinians in Gaza. Sanchez has also said that he has "genuine doubts" about whether Israel is complying with international humanitarian law in its offensive in Gaza.

Spain has emphasized that Israel's response to the Hamas attack of Oct. 7 – which the government has called a "shocking" act of terrorism – under no circumstances can include "the deaths of innocent civilians, including thousands of children."

Visit for the latest news on the conflict in Gaza.

Watch this clip from November of Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez defending his decision to condemn both Hamas and Israel for the indiscriminate killing of innocent civilians.

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WHITE HOUSE REPORT: Israel may have used U.S.-supplied weapons to kill civilians, which violates international humanitarian law.

Defiant Netanyahu insists Israel will act alone if U.S. doesn't provide more weapons for Rafah offensive.

Genocide profiteers: Israeli state-owned weapons companies required to purchase cloud services from Google and Amazon.

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