Italian munitions (Fiocchi) seized in Senegal: “UAMA, Customs Agency and La Spezia Port Authorities must clarify immediately”.

Italian munitions (Fiocchi) seized in Senegal: “UAMA, Customs Agency and La Spezia Port Authorities must clarify immediately”.

“We call on all the Italian authorities (both national and local in La Spezia) responsible for the export of military and civilian armaments and munitions to immediately clarify the situation and on Parliament to urgently request all the necessary information on the news of the seizure in Senegal of a load of Italian-made munitions“.

This is the request, made in a joint statement, by the Italian Peace and Disarmament Network, the Permanent Observatory on Light Weapons and Security and Defence Policies (OPAL) and the association Weapon Watch, following news from Dakar concerning the seizure by the Senegalese General Directorate of Customs of three containers containing military munitions produced by the company Fiocchi of Lecco and the subsequent arrest of the ship’s captain and crew. According to initial information, the cargo is estimated to be worth around €5 million and was on board the cargo ship Eolika, flying the Guyana flag, which sailed from the port of La Spezia on December 2nd. Although the type of ammunition is not known, the Italian production would be proven by the images of the seizure showing several boxes with the Fiocchi logo.

“First of all, we ask the Customs Agency to disclose whether the ammunition found on the cargo ship Eolika was exported from Italy on the basis of the necessary authorisation issued by the national authority UAMA (Armament Material Authorisation Unit) based at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. We also ask the Port Authority and the Port of La Spezia to inform us whether the cargo of ammunition has been loaded in the local port and whether all the documentation required by law has been issued and all the required checks have been carried out.

The cargo ship Eolika was bound for the Dominican Republic, but – according to an investigation carried out by the OPAL Observatory on Government Relations – there are no authorisations for the export of military munitions from Italy to the Central American country in the years 2018 to 2020. However, the licences may have been issued last year and this is why UAMA and the Customs Agency need to clarify.

“It would be very serious indeed,” concludes the note, “if the various national authorities in Italy and La Spezia had not complied with all the rules: we would be faced with an illicit trade in ammunition that would involve not only one of Italy’s best-known companies, but the Italian national authorities themselves.