The supplier’s list starts with U.S. company Chemring and its affiliate Chemring Ordinance which last year signed a contract with the American government and received $47 million in accordance with the Non-Standard Equipment and Weapons Procurement Program. Orbital ATK, another U.S. company was granted $50 million within the same program.
Bulgarian newspaper Trud, which initiated a journalistic investigation sent an official request to both companies to clarify what the money they received was used for. Chemring responded that some of the ammunition for the US and its allies’ armies were purchased from Vazovski Mashinostroitelni Zavodi (VMZ-Sopot). This included 122mm rockets for the Grad MLRS, 73mm anti-tank shells and 40mm ammo for rocket launchers. The other company, Orbital ATK, simply ignored the request to respond.
This type of ammunition is not in service in the U.S. army at the present time. The company refused to disclose which U.S. allies it was intended for, referring to the confidentiality of the supply contract. Previously, Inside Syria Media Center wrote an article on military vehicle deliveries facilitated by the Liberty Passion ship via the port of Aqaba in Jordan under the pretense of tackling ISIS. The Bulgarian weapon supplies to al-Qaeda are transported via the largest Saudi port of Jeddah.
The ammunitions produced by VMZ-Sopot and purchased by the U.S. are delivered to the Bulgarian port of Burgas to be loaded on the Marianne Danica contracting carrier. This carrier has already traded twice in the route from Burgas to Jeddah.
Also worth noting, the carrier does not communicate with any of the ports during its transit, while spending on average 8 hours in Burgas and Jeddah – the minimum time required for fueling and cargo-handling operations, according to the tracking website Marinetraffic.com.
Marianne Danica officially declared that it transports extremely dangerous cargo. According to automated Identification System (AIS) type, the cargo is Hazard A (Major) which is the class for explosives and weapons. However, this cargo is evidently not intended for Saudi Arabia as its army is equipped with the armament provided by Western states only.
Neither the Saudi Embassy in Bulgaria nor the owner of the ship H. Folmer & Co have officially provided information on the transported cargo along the route of Burgas-Jeddah and the Bulgarian weapons’ recipient country.
Amnesty International declares this company and carrier has already been involved in a scandal while carrying teargas and riot control weapons including arms to Egypt in 2011. The US State Department spokesperson had to admit that H. Folmer & Co had allegedly been granted a license to transport armaments.
Bulgarian weapons deliveries to terrorists were confirmed by the FSA deputy commander Col. Malik al-Kurdi. In an interview to the Trud newspaper, he claimed that: an HQ has been set up in Turkey and Jordan to ensure cooperation between the special services of 15 states. We warned the U.S. and the EU that the weapons delivered in this HQ are directly placed in the hands of terror organizations.
He stated “It looks like a double game. I can say with certainty that these countries’ special services arm and finance al-Qaeda, Jabhat al-Nusra, this is happening in Syria. They accuse anyone of terrorism pursuing the goals of their policies”.
Data related to investigation credit: Bulgarian Trud.
In collaboration with Sophie Mangal: Special Investigative Correspondent and Co-Editor of Inside Syria Media Center