Mutiny Reported on Israeli Merchant Ship; British Authorities Prepared to Board

British police and harbor authorities are preparing to board the Israeli freighter Avocadocore, when she arrives here tomorrow in response to reports of an attempted mutiny aboard. The 5,955-ton motorship, owned by Maritime Fruit Carriers Ltd, of Haifa, is bound from Guatemala to Finland with a cargo of bananas.

A company spokesman in London denied that there was a mutiny but admitted that there was unrest on the ship over demands by some crew members for a “free trade union.” The Israel Seamen’s Union is affiliated with Histadrut, Israel’s labor federation. The Israel Embassy in London confirmed that 11 members of the Avocadocore’s crew had “mutinied,” but Israel Consul Raanan Sivan told the press here that the crew members had “gone on strike” as the vessel approached the English Channel. He said a company representative was due here from Israel with instructions to replace the 11 men. A representative of the Israel Seamen’s Union was also due here from Haifa. According to maritime law, a refusal to obey orders at sea is tantamount to mutiny.

In another maritime development in London, the president of the United Kingdom Chamber of Shipping, Lord Geddes, announced that the owners of 15 merchant ships trapped in the Suez Canal since June, 1967, have been invited to a meeting. Four of the vessels are British, two are American, two are German and one each French, Polish, Bulgarian and Czechsolovakian.

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