News Column

Panama Stops Ship With Presumed Rocket Parts for North Korea

July 16, 2013

Panama has blocked a North Korean ship allegedly containing rocket parts from passing through the Panama Canal, President Ricardo Martinelli told Radio Panama Monday.

Two containers on the ship, traveling from Cuba to North Korea, were believed to contain rocket parts.

Police in Colon ordered a search of the ship, which was transporting sugar, after they became suspicious that it might be carrying drugs, said Martinelli.

"We began to offload the sugar and we found two containers that apparently contain sophisticated rocket parts," said Martinelli. "The captain tried to commit suicide and the crew became rebellious."

Martinelli said armaments may not pass through the canal without being declared.

"The Panama Canal is a canal of peace, not war," he said.

About 80 kilometres long, the canal is one of the world's most important waterways. Cuba is known to have good relations with North Korea. Both are Communist countries.

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Source: Copyright 2013 dpa Deutsche Presse-Agentur GmbH

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