Angolan authorities released a U.S.-flag vessel operated by Maersk Line Limited. The government had detained the ship Wednesday to investigate containers containing ammunition.
"On this particular voyage, the vessel was carrying U.S.-government food aid to several African nations as well as four containers of small arms ammunition (bullets) destined for a U.S.-allied country under a U.S. Department of State export license arranged by the shipper, a U.S. company that is not affiliated with Maersk," said Maersk Line Limited spokesman Kevin Speers in a written statement.
Maersk Line Limited, the U.S.-flag subsidiary of Denmark's Maersk Line, said the Maersk Constellation, a multipurpose breakbulk vessel sailing under the U.S. flag, primarily carries U.S.-flag impelled humanitarian assistance cargo to the Middle East and Africa under contracts of carriage with non-governmental organizations.
Speers said the ammunition cargo was "moving in full conformance with U.S. and international law and is not destined for Angola."
"On arrival in Lobito to discharge a portion of the food aid cargo, all the ship's cargo was declared. Twelve days later the Angolan authorities raised questions about the four containers onboard and elected to detain the vessel until the documentation was verified," he said.
Speers said the Angolan authorities requested that the four containers be discharged from the vessel for inspection, and MLL and the captain and crew fully cooperated with the authorities.
"On Wednesday evening local time, Angolan authorities informed the ship's captain that the verification process was complete, the cargo will be returned to the vessel, and Maersk Constellation will be permitted to proceed with its voyage. We are now awaiting the cargo so Maersk Constellation can be underway, and until then, we will continue to work with Angolan and U.S. government officials," Speers said.
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