Parliamentary Question: Vessels carrying Russian weapons to Bashar Al-Assad regime through EU waters

On 9 June 2012 it was reported that on 26 May 2012 Russian-made weapons were delivered by a vessel, registered under the name "Professor Katsman", in the Syrian harbourof Tartus1. The vessel is said to be registered to North West Shipping Company, which is owned by Universal Cargo Logistics ("ULC"). ULC has admitted2 that the vessel had docked in Syria, but said it had no knowledge of the cargo's content. ULC also stated the cargo was taken on board at the port of St Petersburg. According to ULC the company has not violated any international (UN) sanctions. However, en route from St Petersburg to Tartus the vessel has most likely sailed through waters belonging to EU Member States, possibly violating EU sanctions against Syria. ULC has an office in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. I'm also referring to earlier questions about Russian arms supplies to Syria: E-004020/2012 and E-000493/2012. Yesterday it was reported that the US and UK are monitoring another ship in EU waters, which possibly carries helicopters and missles.3 1) Is the EC aware of the ongoing supply of Russian weapons to Assad, particularly by the "Professor Katsman" in Tartus on 26 May and the ship carrying helicopters and missiles? 2) Can the EC conform whether the Professor Katsman has sailed through EU waters? If so, is the EC aware of any actions taken by the respective Member States to investigate the cargo of the vessel? 3) Which responsibilities do EU Member States have under the current EU sanctions againstSyriato pro-actively investigate possible violations of EU sanctions in EU waters? Does the EC monitor whether EU Member States are pro-actively ensuring compliance with EU sanctions againstSyria? 4) Is the EC willing to set up an ad hoc naval monitoring mission to prevent ships carrying weapons for Assad passing through EU waters, in violation of EU sanctions, if not why not? 5) Can the EC confirm that ULC has an office inAmsterdam, The Netherlands? 6) Given the statutory presence of ULC in an EU Member State, is the EC competent and/or able, to investigate the both the conduct and lawfulness thereof, under EU law, of the weapon supplies to the regime of Assad? If not, why not? 7. Is the EC willing to request the Dutch authorities to carry out an investigation into the alleged business operation by ULC, if it lacks the competences? If not, why not? 8. Which concrete actions is the EC taking to prevent the supply of weapons fromRussiato Assad? 1) 2) 3)