Peace activists protest docking of Saudi ship at Spain’s Sagunto port

Activists allege that the ship, Bahri Abha, is carrying weapons for use by Saudi Arabia in Yemen. Since 2015, the ship has transported military equipment worth €143 million on eight voyages from the United States to Saudi Arabia

December 11, 2019 by Peoples Dispatch
Spain peace activists
Protest organized by activists of the Spanish Control Arms campaign against the Saudi ship Bahri Abha, at the Sagunto port. (Photo: Morning Star)

Anti-war groups protested in Spain on December 10, Tuesday, against the docking of the Saudi ship Bahri Abha at the Sagunto port in Valencia, Spain. The protest was organized by activists of the Spanish Control Arms campaign. The Bahri Abha is allegedly carrying weapons from North America to Yemen. 

Protesters demanded that the Spanish government bar the ship from loading any weapons that are likely to be used by the Saudi government in its Western-backed war in Yemen. Following the protests, the Bahri Abha left Sagunto and is believed to be heading to Genoa, according to activists.

As per Alberto Estevez, spokesperson for the Spanish Control Arms campaign, “Since Yemen’s current war began in 2015, this same ship has carried weapons – mostly military aircraft components – worth €143 million on eight voyages from the United States to Saudi Arabia.

Amnesty International reported that the Bahri Abha visited several ports on the east coast of the USA before announcing a sudden route change to Sagunto on November 26. It is not confirmed if it is carrying arms on its current voyage but based on the ship’s recent cargo history, this is widely believed to be the case. Amnesty International, along with FundiPau, Greenpeace and Oxfam Intermón, had alerted the Spanish government in advance to prevent the ship’s entry to a Spanish port.

Earlier in May, a similar protest was held against another weapon-carrying Saudi cargo ship, Bahri Yanbu, at the Genoa port in north-western Italy. It was also met with protests at the Le Havre port in France, and in the northern Spanish town of Santander.

The US, UK and France have provided arms and technical support to the Saudi-led war in Yemen, which has led to a severe humanitarian crisis. According to reports, by the end of 2019, over 233,000 Yemenis have been killed, some 14.3 million people are at risk of famine, and 24 million out of a population of 29 million are in dire need of humanitarian assistance for survival.