Tunis/Tunisia — "Tunisia has no regular or irregular shipping service to Israel," Director of Radés Port Karim Nouira said on Sunday evening, calling "reports" about an Israeli ship entering the Tunisian territorial waters and docking in its port groundless.
Malta-flagged Ekaterina ship arrived to the marina of the port after departing from Bulgaria's Varna port last March 31, the director told TAP. The ship was berthed at the port on May 5 to unload 27,500 thousand tonnes of durum wheat then left on May 22 right after unloading.
May 5 was the only time the ship reported its arrival during the last three years. before May 5
This controversy is the result of a misunderstanding of the Automatic Identification System (AIS), the official said.
Upon the entry of vessels in the Tunisian territorial waters, investigations are initiated by the relevant security authorities to identify and decide whether to authorise or not their entry, he added.
The Tunisian General Labour Union (UGTT) called for denying Ekaterina entry and seizing it to initiate investigations about natural and legal persons behind its activity. The ship, it said, entered the port of Radés flying the Maltese flag to ensure connection between the Tunisian port and that of Ashdod.
The labour union said Ekaterina entered the Radés port last March 31 and May 22, as part of a "direct link" with the Israeli Ashdod port.