Russia Moving Warships to Syria to Protect Naval Base; Femco Fleet Loses Coverage [REPORT]

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June 18, 2012

Russia’s Caesar Kunikov landing ship

Two Russian warships with marines on board are preparing to approach Syrian waters, Interfax reported Monday citing a source in the navy.

The Nikolai Filchenkov and Caesar Kunikov landing ships are being directed to the Syrian port of Tartus to protect Russian citizens and to evacuate materials from the region if necessary, the source told Interfax. Tartus is Russia’s only naval base in the Mediterranean region.

According to U.S. intelligence, the Nikolai Filchenkov alone can carry up to 1700 kilograms of cargo and room for up to 300 in troops.

Meanwhile the U.K.-based marine insurer the Standard Club has reportedly stopped coverage for Russian operator Femco’s cargo ship, MV Alaed, amid allegations that the ship is carrying weapons to Syria, CNN reports.

“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.

CNN adds that the withdrawal of coverage applies to the whole Femco fleet of eight vessels entered with the company.

Dow Jones’ Olga Razumovskaya contributed to this article

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