Records on N. Korean ship docked in Syria were altered
Online databases tracking a ship reportedly flying a North Korean flag that docked in Syria have changed their records following a report in The Washington Post linking the alleged Israeli air strike in Syria to a North Korean shipment.
Ronen Solomon, who searches information in the public domain for companies, told Haaretz he found references to a ship called Al Hamad on three different Web sites after the initial reports of the Israeli raid in Syria on September 6. These included the official sites of Syria's Tartous Port and the Egyptian Transportation Ministry.
Two of the three sites said the ship was flying a North Korean flag, and the third site reported it was flying a South Korean flag.
Haaretz confirmed Solomon's report.
Yesterday, the Washington Post published an article citing an American Mideast expert, who said a shipment that arrived in Syria three days before the alleged Israel Air Forces strike was labeled as cement, but that Israel believed it carried nuclear equipment.
Following the Washington Post report, Solomon returned to the three sites, and discovered that all mentions of the North Korean flag on Al Hamad had been deleted, and that the ship?s flag was now registered as "unknown.|
The official site of Syria's Tartous Port, www.tartousport.com, had reported that Al Hamad, flying a North Korean flag and carrying cement, entered the port on September 3.
Syria said IAF planes entered its airspace on September 5.
According to the site, the ship had passed through Tripoli port in Lebanon, Solomon said.
He then found a site, www.e-ships.net, that said Al Hamad was registered as a 1,700-ton ship intended for general cargo and flying a North Korean flag. The ship had been built in 1965 and had had several owners, according to the site.
In addition, Solomon found on the Web site of Egypt's Transportation Ministry, www.MTS.gov.eg, a record that Al Hamad had docked in Damietta Port Said in the Nile Delta about a month earlier, on July 28. However, this site registered the ship as flying a South Korean flag.
Haaretz was able to access the Tartous Port Internet site until yesterday afternoon, after which it went offline for several hours.