Israel to Deport Turkish Stowaway Suspected of Setting Ship on Fire

This is not the first time the suspect, who set fire to a cargo ship off the Haifa port after being discovered on board, is being returned to Turkey after attempting to enter Israel

Noa Shpigel
Noa Shpigel
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FILE Photo: A MSC Canberra container ship near the Haifa port.
FILE Photo: A MSC Canberra container ship near the Haifa port. Credit: Rami Chelouche
Noa Shpigel
Noa Shpigel

Israel decided on Monday to deport a Turkish national suspected of setting fire to a cargo ship near the Haifa port back to his home country, the Interior Ministry said, noting this is not the first time the suspect is being returned to Turkey after attempting to enter Israel.

The 43-year-old suspect who was discovered on a cargo ship on Sunday had boarded the ship as a clandestine passenger and set the deck aflame after his identity was compromised. 

Forces were called to the scene as the Israeli Navy dispatched drones and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) to the area. A team from the Shayetet 13 elite naval commando unit also made its way to the scene and began searching the ship.

The Israel Defense Forces also dispatched snipers.

On Sunday morning while the ship was 9 kilometers (5.5 miles) off Israel's northern coast, crew members on the MSC Canberra container ship spotted the suspect rampaging and breaking items on board. The ship had set sail for Israel from southeast Turkey on Friday.

The crew, which included Russian and Turkish staffers, followed emergency protocols and barricaded itself aboard the command bridge.

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