TEL AVIV (Apr. 28)
The second of two Israeli frigates sold over a year ago to the Government of Ceylon was formally turned over to the Ceylonese Navy at Ceylon’s capital of Colombo today, according to an official report from the frigate’s Israeli crew received here.
The second of the ships, the Miznak. sailed from Israelis port of Eilat ten days ago with an all-Israeli crew. The first, the Mivtach, took a similar route a year ago, down the Gulfof Akaba, through the Straits of Tiran and eastward in the Red Sea into the Indian Ocean.
Ceylonese military, naval and high civilian officials greeted the Miznak as it sailed into the harbor at Colombo, the Israeli crew reported. With the completion of the Miznak’s journey to Colombo, Israel has once again shown that she can sail the international waterway from Eilat without interference by the Arab states, the United Arab Republic and Saudi Arabia, whose shores, like Israel’s, are along the Gulf of Akaba.
After the deal with Ceylon for the sale of the frigates had been announced, the UAR notified Ceylon that it disapproved of the plan to send a Ceylonese crew to board the ships at Eilat. Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion personally took charge of the issue when Ceylon indicated it preferred not to tangle with the UAR on this issue. He ordered the Mivtach to sail with an all-Israeli crew. Now the Miznak has been turned over in the same manner.