TEL AVIV (Jun. 8)
A Liberian flagship carrying a sugar cargo to Israel from South Korea will not attempt to pass through the Suez Canal, official sources said today. The vessel, due at Gaza on or about June 10, has passed through the Straits of Gibraltar enroute to Israel after rounding the African continent, the sources reported.
A report last week that the ship would arrive in Gaza a week earlier than originally scheduled set off a flurry of speculation in maritime circles that Israel intended to make a test case of Egypt’s willingness to permit Israeli cargoes to transit the Suez Canal in accordance with the January, 1974 Israeli-Egyptian disengagement accord. The waterway was officially re-opened by Egypt last Thursday on the eighth anniversary of its shutdown at the outbreak of the Six-Day War.
Foreign Minister Yigal Allon said in a newspaper interview published Friday that Israel is “entitled to expect that Egypt will at least allow the passage of Israeli cargoes through the Suez Canal, even if not aboard Israeli ships at the present time.” But Israel apparently does not intend to make a test case of this, at least for the time being.