Leonhardt & Blumberg


[email protected]

US troops boarded a German-owned freighter in early October and found eight containers full of ammunition, allegedly headed to Syria from Iran. The shipment is in violation of a UN weapons embargo and has become a source of chagrin in Berlin... The incident is particularly awkward for Berlin as the Hansa India is registered to the Hamburg-based shipping company Leonhardt & Blumberg. Investigators suspect that the arms were part of an Iranian shipment bound for either the Syrian army or for Hezbollah, the militant Islamist group. US officials have pointed out that the delivery is in violation of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1747, which prohibits arms shipments either into or out of Iran. According to Leonhardt & Blumberg, the 243-meter-long (297-foot-long) ship has for years been under charter to the state-owned shipping company Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines. Two US warships halted the Hansa India after receiving a tip-off from intelligence services. (Der Spiegel, "German Ship Transporting Arms for Iran," 10/12/09)


Meanwhile, it has emerged that IRISL-chartered containership Hansa India also stopped and boarded by the US Navy in the Suez Canal last week, at which point American security personne found seven containers loaded with 7.62mm calibre bullet casings suitable for for Kalashnikov rifles, as well as an eighth container loaded with blanks that could be used for the manufacture of projectiles. The 1994-built vessel is German-flagged and is associated with Hamburg-based Leonhardt & Blumberg, although it has been chartered by IRISL for some years. Frank Leonhardt, chief executive of Leonhardt & Blumberg, was not immediately available for comment... The delivery is in apparent violation of UN Security Council Resolution 1747, which prohibits arms shipments either into or out of Iran. (Lloyd's List, "IRISL hit with UK nuclear sanctions," 10/12/09)