Navy Arrests Stowaway Suspected of Arson on Ship From Turkey

An Israeli Navy vessel. (Edi Israel/Flash90, File)

A Turkish national who allegedly set a fire on a cargo ship off the coast of Haifa, prompting Israeli naval forces to board the vessel, was apparently trying to get to Europe, Channel 12 reported Monday.

The Turkish man, 45, was brought to Haifa Magistrate’s Court, but the hearing was canceled after authorities decided to deport him to his home country.

During an investigation following his capture Sunday it was discovered that the man had stowed away on the ship at a port in Turkey hoping to hitch a ride to Europe.

On Sunday, the Navy stormed a cargo ship that was making its way from Turkey to Haifa Port, arresting a man who was suspected of attempting to set the vessel ablaze.

Forces were called to the scene after the passenger was discovered on board, and the Navy said the situation was under control.

At first, the Navy dispatched drones and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) to the area to gather information, while a team from the Shayetet 13 elite naval commando unit made its way to the scene and began searching the ship.

The suspect was apprehended near one of the containers on board.

The port’s administration said an initial alert of the passenger, who began rampaging and breaking items on board, came when the ship was 9 kilometers (5.5 miles) off Israel’s northern coast.

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

Local media said the ship was sailing under a Panamanian flag. It left Turkey’s Mersin Port on Friday, and was scheduled to enter Haifa Port on Monday.