Arms ship faces possible $1m fine

2013-08-15 23:14
Panamanian workers stand atop sacks of sugar inside a container aboard a North Korean-flagged ship at the Manzanillo International container terminal on the coast of Colon City, Panama. (Arnulfo Franco, AP)

Panamanian workers stand atop sacks of sugar inside a container aboard a North Korean-flagged ship at the Manzanillo International container terminal on the coast of Colon City, Panama. (Arnulfo Franco, AP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Video

Weapons found on North Korean ship

2013-07-19 12:20

Panamanian authorities open cargo containers with what appeared to be missile parts sent from Cuba to North Korea. Watch.WATCH

Panama - The Panama Canal authority said on Thursday it will impose as much as a $1 million fine on the North Korean freighter caught with an undeclared shipment of Cuban weapons.

"It is a flagrant violation of safe passage through the Panama Canal and we have little tolerance for this kind of activity," canal administrator Jorge Quijano said.

"It is going to be sanctioned," he said, adding that authorities were still mulling the size of the fine.

"It's obvious that there were containers that had not been declared, not to mention what was inside them."

The ship, the Chong Chon Gang, was boarded and searched on 10 July on suspicion it was smuggling drugs.

Authorities instead uncovered 25 containers of military hardware, including two Soviet era MiG-21s, air defence systems, missiles and command and control vehicles, buried under tons of sugar.

Havana said they were obsolete Cuban arms being shipped to North Korea for refurbishment under a legitimate contract.

A team of UN experts is in Panama to inspect the weapons and determine whether the shipment violated a UN ban against arms transfers to North Korea.

Quijano said fines imposed by the canal authority range from $10 000 to $100 000 for serious violations and up to $1m for "very serious" violations.

"The case of the North Korean freighter is very serious," he told AFP.

Warships and ships carrying military or nuclear material routinely go through the canal, allowed passage even at times of war.

The only requirement is that canal authorities be given prior notice so that local authorities can take appropriate security precautions.

With 5% of the world's trade passing through it, the canal is a strategically important chokepoint requiring tight security procedures.

Only four North Korean flagged vessels have transited the 80km canal in the past two years.

Read more on:    panama  |  military

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
2 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

 
/News

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
Traffic
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.