Spain has denied permission to an Israel-bound ship carrying arms from Chennai to stop over at the Cartagena port in the country’s southeast, said Spanish foreign minister José Manuel Albares on Thursday, reported Reuters.

Albares said the ship, Marianne Danica, had requested permission to dock at the Spanish port on May 21. The refusal to allow it was consistent with Spain's policy to ban the exports of all arms to Israel since the war on Gaza began.

The Danish-flagged ship was carrying 27 tonnes of explosive material from Chennai to a port in Israel’s Haifa, reported AFP.

“This is the first time we have done this because it is the first time we have detected a ship carrying a shipment of arms to Israel that wants to call at a Spanish port,” Albares was quoted as saying by the news agency.

He added: “This will be a consistent policy with any ship carrying arms to Israel that wants to call at Spanish ports. The foreign ministry will systematically reject such stopovers for one obvious reason: the Middle East does not need more weapons, it needs more peace.”

The development comes amidst a demand by Spain’s left-wing alliance to stop another ship carrying military material from docking in Cartagena on Friday.

However, Óscar Puente, the country’s transport minister, has said the ship was bound for the Czech Republic, not Israel.

Spain has consistently criticised Israel’s war on Gaza and has been urging other European countries to recognise the Palestinian state.

Israel’s war on Gaza has been ongoing for over seven months. The war began after Hamas’ incursion into southern Israel on October 7 that killed 1,200 people. The militant group had also taken over 200 people hostage.

A hundred of those hostages are still believed to be alive and in Gaza, according to Al Jazeera. Some of the hostages were released in November as part of a brief ceasefire agreement and others were killed as a result of the war.

Since October, Israel has been carrying out unprecedented air and ground strikes on Gaza. The attacks have killed at least 35,774 persons, including over 15,000 children.

Also read: Why the war on Gaza has sparked passionate protests by young people