UPDATE 2: Last month, South Korea seized a North Korean shipment to Syria which contained hazmat suits “to guard against nuclear, biological or chemical infection”. The four containers that were confiscated in Busan contained the Russian-made suits (or North Korean-made but copied from Russian designs). The report’s lead says that the items were related to chemical weapons, but the rest of the report doesn’t explain why it believes it was chemical-related and not biological or nuclear.
UPDATE 1: South Korea also searched containers shipped by the DPRK on a Panamanian ship. According to Yonhap:
South Korea confiscated and searched containers shipped by North Korea on a Panama-registered freighter last month but reportedly found no suspicious cargo, according to sources Monday.
The National Intelligence Service (NIS) and relevant authorities on Sept. 22 ordered an inspection of the ship docked in the southeastern port of Busan and searched the four containers, a government official said, requesting anonymity.
The official said authorities found some kind of protective clothing but did not elaborate further.
A port official in Busan also confirmed that the NIS ordered the search, saying it received tips that the containers could be carrying hazardous material. The ship carrying the containers had arrived from China last month.
“Nothing particular was discovered from the search, but I’m aware that the government is still in the process of confirming the results,” the port official said, refusing to elaborate.
ORIGINAL POST: Last August the Indian government detained and searched a North Koren vessel that was anchored in Indian waters. This week, the Indian government stopped and searched a second vessel anchored in Indian waters. According to the Telegraph (of India):
The Indian Coast Guard detained a North Korean vessel for the second time in two months but gave the all-clear to the ship found anchored without permission off the Kerala coast today.
A spokesperson for the navy and the Coast Guard, Commander Roy Francis, said the Hyangro was found stationary in Indian waters when it was supposed to be sailing to Karachi, Pakistan. Coast Guard and naval personnel boarded the ship but found it was carrying no cargo.
The Hyangro was surrounded by two Coast Guard vessels and a naval warship after fishermen reported its presence to the authorities.
The captain of the ship told the investigators he had dropped anchor “because of technical problems in the ship’s tanks that were leaking”. The ship had last made port in Colombo. It is owned by the Pyongyang-based Sinhung Shipping Company.
A navy source in Delhi said later this evening that the crew of the Hyangro had been cleared after questioning. The entire crew of 44 was North Korean.
A UN resolution empowers member countries to inspect North Korean cargo being transported by sea, land or air.
Read the full article here:
North Korea ship
The Telegraph (of India)