Friday, November 10, 2006
India has detained an empty North Korean cargo ship bound for Iran after it strayed into Indian waters, baffling coast guard officials and police about the purpose of its voyage. “MV Omrani-II” developed a snag and entered Indian waters on Oct 29 and was towed to the Mumbai Port where the crew was being questioned by Indian intelligence and customs officials. “The crew has not been able to explain why they were sailing an empty vessel to Iran,” a senior coast guard official told reporters on condition of anonymity.However a senior official at the DG Shipping said: “They have told us that because it is a new ship they were testing it. But it is strange that they should need to sail as far as Iran.” Officials said documents for the new 45-metre vessel were in order, although life-saving equipment was found to be deficient. A UN Security Council resolution imposing sanctions on North Korea after its Oct 9 nuclear test calls on UN members to take steps, including “as necessary” the inspection of cargoes to and from North Korea to prevent illicit trafficking WMDs. But Indian officials said they were not acting at the behest of the UN.