Lebanon has assigned tow of its four naval vessels to a campaign against widespread piracy and smuggling along its coast.
Lebanon has assigned tow of its four naval vessels to a campaign against widespread piracy and smuggling along its coast. There have been several acts of piracy against Saudi Arabian and Iraqi cargoes during the past two months and more than fifty vessels are reported to have vanished or had their cargoes stolen in the Eastern Mediterranean since 1977.
SYNOPSIS: The latest incident was last week (9 November) when the ship 'Tarek' was found by villagers on the Mediterranean shores of North Lebanon. The ships cargo of rice had been stolen along with some of its main equipment and machinery.
Up to now Lebanon has operated only sporadic coastal patrols involving routine customs checks. However reports say the newly-assigned vessels will spend all their time on the crackdown against piracy and smuggling. Lebanese Premier Selim Al-Hoss says Lebanon will report on the piracy to the United Nations shipping body. His government is worried about the impact of smuggling on its treasury. Lebanon relies on customs duties for fifty percent of its revenues.