JERUSALEM (Dec. 9)
The Israeli Foreign Ministry reaffirmed today that freedom of shipping in the Gulf of Akaba is a basic tenet of Israeli policy as announced and implemented since 1967. The declaration was made in response to questions about charges that Israeli naval forces had fired on a Japanese ship that was proceeding in the Gulf to the Jordanian port of Akaba, three miles from the Israeli port of Eilat.
The incident occurred at 4 a.m., last Saturday morning, the bridge officer on the Japanese freighter apparently dozed and the vessel strayed off course toward the Israeli coast. An Israeli boat sailed out to warn the freighter away with flares. There was no damage to the ship nor were there any casualties. The Japanese diplomatic representative was informed of the incident.