Anti-war campaigners organised a protest yesterday at a Spanish port against the arrival of a Saudi cargo ship believed to be carrying US and Canadian manufactured arms to Yemen.
The Bahri Abha ship arrived yesterday morning from the US into the eastern Spanish port of Sagunto, Valencia.
At the demonstration the Control Arms Coalition demanded that the Spanish authorities prevent the ship from loading any weapons likely to be used by the Saudi government in the five-year war in Yemen following the 21 September Revolution in 2014.
The coalition of activists included organisations such as Amnesty International, FundiPau, Greenpeace and Oxfam Intermón.
Alberto Estevez, a spokesperson for the campaign said: “Since Yemen’s current war began in 2015, this same ship has carried weapons, mostly military aircraft components, worth €143 million [$158 million] on eight voyages from the United States to Saudi Arabia.”
“The Spanish government must intervene to ensure that this Saudi Arabian ship is not transporting more deadly cargo that could be used to commit further atrocities in Yemen,” he added.
In response, the Port Authority of Valencia said: “The vessel itself, its route, its documentation and scheduled operations in Sagunto are all legal.”
The Bahri Abha left Sagunto yesterday afternoon and is believed to be heading to Genoa in Italy, according to activists.
The Antimilitarists Conscientious Objection Movement, another Spanish peace group, denounced the “terrible irony” of the situation, saying the ship will allow “war crimes to be committed, which will prolong and increase violence and harm millions of people in the war in Yemen.”
Amnesty International reported that NGOs also fear the ship may have loaded new weapons whilst it was docked in Spain. This was the case with another ship from the same fleet, the Bahri Yanbu, which loaded weapons destined for the United Arab Emirates in Santander in May this year.
According to Amnesty, by the end of this year, over 233,000 Yemenis will have been killed as a result of the fighting or the humanitarian crisis, described by the UN as the worst in the world. Furthermore, some 14.3 million people are at risk of famine.