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Tanzania Halts Registration of Foreign Ships After Cargo Controversies


FILE - A Tanzania-flagged vessel, intercepted by the French navy in international waters between Sardinia in Italy and Algeria, is seen moored in the naval base of Toulon, southern France, Oct. 15, 2013.

The government of Tanzania has temporarily stopped registration of foreign ships following the recent seizure of five Tanzanian-flagged ships that were carrying illegal cargo.

President John Magufuli on Friday also ordered authorities to investigate the registration of 470 ships currently plying international seas with the Tanzanian flag.

Early in January, Greek authorities intercepted a Tanzanian-flagged ship near Crete on its way to Libya, carrying materials used to make explosives. Libya has been subject to a U.N. arms embargo since 2011.

A few weeks earlier, a Tanzanian-flagged ship was intercepted in the Atlantic Ocean carrying 1.6 tons of cocaine.

Tanzania is also one of the seven countries being investigated by the United Nations for allegedly violating the arms embargo against North Korea.The U.S. has put pressure on Tanzania and four other African countries to stop allowing North Korean ships to fly their flags.

Sources in Tanzania say the foreign ships are regularly registered by the Tanzania Zanzibar International Register of Shipping in the semiautonomous island of Zanzibar.

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