The MV Alaed, a 9,00 DWT geared cargo ship, was reported to be carrying refurbished Russian attack helicopters, as well as missiles and other unspecified munitions, on a voyage from Russia to Syria. Today, about 50 miles (80.4km) off Scotland’s north coast, the ship turned around and headed back to Russia. The change in course was not induced by warships or threats of air attack but by the withdrawal of the ship’s Protection and Indemnity insurance by The Standard Club in London.
A statement by the insurer said, that the cover was withdrawn because the owners of the ship had “broken internal rules” of the club – a mutual insurance association – and not on the instructions of the UK government.
“We were informed on Friday evening that the ship might be carrying weapons, in particular attack helicopters, missiles and non-specific munitions, and we are making inquiries to establish what their side of the story is. There are exclusion clauses in our cover and, for anyone involved in improper or unlawful trade, we can cancel cover.”