By Tim Lister
The U.K. marine insurer the Standard Club has stopped coverage for Russian operator Femco's cargo ship, MV Alaed, amid allegations it is carrying weapons to Syria.
"We were made aware of the allegations that the Alaed was carrying munitions destined for Syria and have already informed the ship owner that their insurance cover ceased automatically in view of the nature of the voyage," the company told CNN on Monday.
The vessel is currently off the north coast of Scotland, according to ship-tracking data. U.S. officials have claimed the ship is heading for Syria with attack helicopters and munitions for the al-Assad regime from the port of Kaliningrad.
The withdrawal of coverage applies to the whole Femco fleet of eight vessels entered with the company, according to officials at Standard Club in London.
The Alaed was proceeding southwest at a speed of 12 knots and was some 40 miles off the Scottish port of Thurso at 9 a.m. ET Monday. The data showed that it left Kaliningrad 10 days ago with a final destination of Vladivostok on July 24.
On Friday, U.S. officials said they were tracking a Russian military cargo ship, the Nikolay Filchenov, also believed bound for Syria. U.S. intelligence believes the Russians are sending the ship to help fortify its naval base in Syria as the situation in country continues to spiral out of control, Pentagon officials told CNN Friday.
RIA Novosti, Russia's state-run news agency, denied the report Monday, citing a source in the Black Sea Fleet who said the Nikolay Filchenov remained docked at its base in Sevastopol.