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Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Israeli ships shocker - theSun

by R. Nadeswaran and Terence Fernandez 

PORT KLANG (June 7, 2010):
 While the Israelis have attacked and blockaded a flotilla with Malaysians on board bringing aid for Palestinians, Malaysian ports have been receiving Israeli cargo vessels since 1998.

The HS Chopin, one of the chartered Gold Star Lines’ vessels that travel to
Malaysia under the Asia Mediteranean Europe service.

The fleet belonging to Gold Star Lines, a subsidiary of Israel’s Zim Lines, has been calling at the nation’s ports, including Port Klang.

Checks carried out by theSun show that Gold Star was incorporated in Hongkong in 1958 to circumvent prohibitions placed by several Muslim countries, including Malaysia, which do not have diplomatic ties or do not recognise Israel.

By setting up a shipping line with a completely different name, it gave the impression that it is operating from a neutral country – in this case Hongkong. Other shipping lines that Zim is disguised as are Seven Stars Lines Corporation and Seth Shipping Corporation. It also part-owns a company called Star Shipping Agencies.

Gold Star lists Port Klang’s Westport and North Terminal, as well as Penang and Pasir Gudang as ports of call. Its Malaysian agents are Standard Marine Agencies Sdn Bhd, Kota Kinabalu; Mac-Nels Shippings (Sarawak) Sdn Bhd in Kuching and Sibu; and Newstar Agencies Sdn Bhd in Port Klang, Penang and Pasir Gudang. Other than these ports, Zim’s website also list Labuan and Kuantan as ports that it services and lists "Kelang" as one of its seven major stops.

To avoid being recognised as an Israeli company, its entire fleet flies the flags of various nations where they are registered, among them Singapore, Cyprus, Germany and Antigua.

Records from a Singapore court case confirm Israel’s connection with Gold Star.

In January, Zim sued former Gold Star director Capt Dafni Igal to recover rebates and commissions made by a Malaysian port operator (see Special incentives for Israeli ships).

According to the written judgment in a civil suit, Igal – who was managing director of Gold Star Line and then Zim-Asia president, as well as a director of its subsidiary Star Shipping Agencies – and two Singaporeans set up another company Starship Agencies (not to be confused with Star Shipping Agencies) in which he had a 60% stake.

Igal claimed that this was done with Zim’s permission, so as to acquire Singapore citizenship. This would allow him to visit Muslim countries including Malaysia which he could not do on an Israeli passport.
In his testimony, Igal also said: "I had a lot of problems travelling to Malaysia….I’d be called to a special room and only then allowed entry." --theSun


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