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Israeli-chartered Ship Returns to Haifa; Detained at Suez for 14 Weeks

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The Israeli-chartered Greek vessel Panaghia returned to this port today with a cargo of 300 tons of cement destined for Israel’s southern port of Elath after having been refused passage through the Suez Canal since last May 25.

The 500 ton freighter, recalled by the chartering company, carried a crew of one captain and seven seamen. Three others had become ill during the ship’s detention and were flown to Greece for treatment.

The Captain, Kosta Kotales, complained today of the treatment received by the crew and reported that he had not been allowed to contact the Egyptian authorities during the entire three month period. Nor were the seamen or the Captain allowed to leave the vessel and go ashore for any reason.

Held up at Port Said, the vessel never got to Elath. Several weeks after it was first stopped, the freighter was given permission to pass through, but this was revoked later although canal passage fees had been paid. The vessel was under armed guard at all times.

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