‘N Korean ship had no business being there’
Three days after the Coast Guard detained a suspicious North Korean merchant ship off the Andaman and Nicobar Islans Navy chief Admiral Sureesh Mehta has said that the “North Korean vessel had no business being there.”delhi Updated: Aug 09, 2009 01:34 IST
Three days after the Coast Guard detained a suspicious North Korean merchant ship off the Andaman and Nicobar Islans Navy chief Admiral Sureesh Mehta has said that the “North Korean vessel had no business being there.”
The vessel, MV Musan, had dropped anchor just five km off Hut Bay Island in Little Andaman without any authorization on Thursday.
The Coast Guard made several attempts to establish contact with the vessel. But instead of responding, Musan tried to escape. This triggered suspicions about its intent and cargo.
The Coast Guard personnel had to fire shots in the air to stop the ship from getting away.
Mehta said: “The North Korean vessel had no business being there. It complied with our orders only after we fired shots in the air.”
The suspect ship, with 39 sailors onboard, was escorted to Port Blair for further investigations on August 6. Also the paperwork onboard the Musan was found to be incomplete.
During interrogation the cargo ship’s captain said the vessel had anchored due to a mechanical fault.
Maritime agencies rarely take chances with North Korean ships, thanks to Pyongyang’s track record on proliferation of nuclear and missile technology. North Korean vessels have been found to be carrying nuclear or missile-related cargo in the past for regimes pursuing clandestine nuclear programmes.
Mehta said the Navy and Coast Guard apprehended that the ship could be carrying suspicious cargo (nuclear material), but added that from all available indications, MV Musan was only carrying “genuine merchandise” (sugar).