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Israel Watches Egypt’s Action on Passage of the Chartered Ship

The Danish freighter Brigitte Toft entered the Suez Canal at 7 A.M. today en route to Haifa, according to information received from the ship’s agents in Haifa.

Earlier reports from Egypt indicated the Egyptian authorities might interfere with the Brigitte Toft’s innocent passage. The Israeli authorities will not know until tomorrow morning whether the vessel was allowed through the waterway. However, if the ship is assigned speedily to a convoy and not delayed it is possible that it will emerge at the Mediterranean end of the Canal this evening and radio that fact to Haifa. The ship will be considered held up only if she does not reach the Mediterranean by tomorrow morning.

According to some reports, the Egyptians may permit the ship to pass, but confiscate its cargo of rice. Foreign ships carrying Israel-bound cargoes since the reopening of the channel have been allowed through the Suez. The Brigitte Toft, operating under charter to Israel, was the first large vessel to enter Elath harbor after the Akaba Gulf blockade was breached by Israeli troops in the Sinai Peninsula.

The ship suffered serious damage and loss of some of the cargo while loading in Burma. Emergency repairs were made and it was decided to send the ship to unload at Haifa–rather than Elath, as originally scheduled–before directing it to a Danish port for repairs.

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