Panama Stops N. Korean Ship over Missile Equipment

By Dialogo
July 17, 2013

Congratulations to His Excellency President Ricardo Martinelli for detaining the questionable material that certainly would end up at the North-Korean dictator’s hands. PEACE MUST RULE OUR PLANET, but the actions should be sensible and steady. No matter how painful it may be to some people.
Panamanian President Ricardo Martinelli said on July 16 counter-narcotics agents found suspected missile material on board a North Korean vessel it stopped en route from Cuba.

Outlining a dramatic sequence of events, President Martinelli said the ship was targeted by drug enforcement officials as it approached the Panama Canal and was taken into port, but a search revealed cargo of far
greater concern.

The vessel’s estimated 35-man crew also rioted when police stepped aboard, according to Martinelli, who said the suspicious goods were found hidden in a consignment of sugar.

“The world needs to sit up and take note: You cannot go around shipping undeclared weapons of war through the Panama Canal,” he told Radio Panama.

“We had suspected this ship, which was coming from Cuba and headed to North Korea, might have drugs aboard so it was brought into port for search and inspection [on the country’s Atlantic coast],” Martinelli added. Initial reports said the ship was last boarded on July 12.

“When we started to unload the shipment of sugar we located containers that we believe to be sophisticated missile equipment, and that is not allowed,” Martinelli said.

The ship, named Chong Chon Gang, is being held as are the crew not only resisted the approach from the Panamanian authorities, but also attempted to sabotage the search, he said.

“The captain has tried to commit suicide, and the crew rioted” during the operation, the president said.

The boat was headed back to North Korea when it was stopped and taken to Manzanillo, east of the Atlantic opening of the Panama Canal, which is a major cargo distribution center.