Investigation of detained North Korean ship continuing

Last Updated: Tuesday, August 11, 2009 - 13:51

New Delhi: Chief of Naval Staff Admiral Sureesh Mehta has said that interrogation of the crew of a suspicious North Korea ship detained by Indian coastguards at Andaman and Nicobar Islands was still on.

Talking to reporters here on the sideline of a conference Mehta said, "Till now nothing significant has come out. The investigation is still on and only after further interrogation of the crewmembers we can come to a conclusion."
The Indian Coast Guard detained the ship with 39 crewmembers on board late on Friday in the Indian Ocean.

Officials at the Integrated Command and the Intelligence Bureau (IB) are investigating the ship and all its crewmembers. Some reports said Indian officials are facing difficulty in communicating with the crew because of the language problem.

The ship, which had embarked on its journey from Thailand on July 27 with 1,600 tonnes of sugar to be shipped off to Iraq, stopped at Singapore without permission and then moved ahead without proper passport stamping done.
The Coast Guard helicopters identified the ship in Indian waters. The ship did not respond to the signals, following which the Coast Guard ships chased the vessel and made it obey its orders.

Earlier, the ship dropped anchor at Hut Bay without any permission. Even the logbook of the vessel was found to be vague, sources said.

North Korean sales of missiles and other weapons materials to tense and unstable parts of the world have long been a major concern for the United States and its allies, due to this its ships are frequently stopped and inspected.

In four publicly known cases between 1992-2003 in which North Korean vessels were stopped on suspicion of shipping weapons of mass destruction components or chemicals, none was prosecuted because the cargo was either undetermined, legal or "dual-use," sources said.


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First Published: Tuesday, August 11, 2009 - 13:51

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