Sunday, October 04, 2009
A North Korean ship headed for Pakistan was detained by the Navy and Coast Guard for dropping anchor off the Kerala coast without taking permission. The vessel, Hyang RO, was on its way from Sri Lanka to a Pakistani port. However, a Navy spokesman said on Sunday that a preliminary probe had found nothing incriminating on board the ship which was detained at Vadakara in Kozhikode district on October 2. A joint team of the Navy, Coast Guard, intelligence agencies and port authorities inspected it, commander Roy Francis said. “The ship is empty and has already offloaded its cargo of urea and we have not found anything incriminating so far,” he said. According to him, the captain of Hyang RO Choe Sung Ho had told authorities in Kerala that the vessel had to drop anchor in Indian waters due to an “internal leak in its tanks” and that it would soon start sailing. The probe team found the claim genuine, the Navy spokesman said.
Hyang ROThe ship, owned by Pyongyang-based Sinhung Shipping Company, had anchored without mandatory clearance. The 9,000 tonne ship was sailing from Colombo to Port Bin Qasim near Karachi. Its 44 crew, all North Koreans, were questioned, according to Navy sources. In August, a North Korean ship M V Mu San was detained in the Bay of Bengal when it dropped anchor off Hut Bay in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands for days as it was suspected to be carrying nuclear cargo. It was found later to have genuine merchandise. India had once detained a North Korean ship that was carrying missile components for Pakistan. Reports of North Korean aid to Burma’s nuclear plans have heightened concerns that its vessels may be ferrying materials clandestinely to troubled spots. UN member states are authorised to inspect North Korean cargo and seize and destroy any goods transported in violation of a Security Council resolution in June after it conducted nuclear tests. North Korea had fired a barrage of short-range missiles in May and exploded a nuclear device.