Ha'aretz, January 9, 2009 - A "hazardous material" designation on the manifest mentions explosive substances and detonators, but no other details were given.
"Shipping 3,000-odd tons of ammunition in one go is a lot," one broker said, on condition of anonymity. "This (kind of request) is pretty rare and we haven't seen much of it quoted in the market over the years," he added.
The U.S. Defense Department, contacted by Reuters on Friday in Washington, had no immediate comment.
The MSC transports armor and military supplies for the U.S. armed forces aboard its own fleet, but regularly hires merchant ships if logistics so require.
The request for the ship was made on Dec. 31, with the first leg of the charter to arrive no later than January 25 and the second at the end of the month....
The tender document said the vessel had to be capable of "carrying 5.8 million pounds (2.6 million kg) of net explosive weight", which specialist brokers said was a very large quantity.
The ship was requested early last month to load on December 15.
In September, the U.S. Congress approved the sale of 1,000 bunker-buster missiles to Israel. The GPS-guided GBU-39 is said to be one of the most accurate bombs in the world.