|See photo info below|
The U.S. and Panama had been tracking the ship for several days, suspecting it was carrying weapons and that it was going to try to transit the canal, said a U.S. official.More from the BBC here:
U.S. officials said they hoped Panama would stop the ship to inspect it, and publicly praised Panama for doing so. "The U.S. was aware of the suspected shipment and believed the Panamanian officials were going to stop it," a U.S. official said.
A State Department spokesman, Patrick Ventrell, said the U.S. has pushed for enforcement of U.N. resolutions restricting North Korean weapons activities. "Any shipment of arms would violate numerous U.N. security resolutions," he said.
|© Malcolm Cranfield|
The ship, the Chong Chon Gang, was stopped near Manzanillo on the Atlantic side of the canal last week.
It had left Russia's far east in April and travelled across the Pacific Ocean before entering the canal at the start of June, with Cuba as its stated destination.
The ship had crossed the Pacific without its automatic tracking system switched on - a move described by the BBC's security correspondent Frank Gardner as highly suspicious.
Panama's Security Minister Jose Raul Mulino told the BBC that the ship - carrying 250,000 bags of sugar - was seized on 10 July after a tip-off that it was linked to drugs, but the "resistance and violence from the crew" delayed the search.
He said the suspected weaponry was found in two containers and did not rule out further "surprises" as the search of the ship continues.
|Current NORK Kim-in-Charge|
Hmmm. "Obsolete" like the governments of Cuba and North Korea?
About that photo - this site captions the photo as "The first released photos of the arms. Captain of the
ship." Of course, the larger photo is from the ship, taken by a Panamanian government official. The inset, however, appears to be the NORK Current-Kim-in-Charge, Kim Jong Un. Unless, of course, he captains weapons smuggling ships in addition all the other amazing stuff he is up to.