Cuba said a North Korean cargo ship seized in Panama on Monday was loaded at one of its ports with 10,000 tons of sugar and 240 tons of "obsolete defensive weaponry," according to a statement released on Tuesday (July 16) by the Cuban Foreign Ministry.
Cuba said the weapons were being sent back to North Korea for repair and included two anti-aircraft batteries, nine disassembled rockets, and two MiG-21 aircraft, all Soviet-era military weaponry built in the middle of the last century.
The ship was stopped last week as it headed into the Panama Canal and authorities arrested the crew on Monday after finding undeclared missile-shaped objects - a potential violation of U.N. sanctions linked to North Korea's nuclear program.
The U.S. State Department praised Panama's decision to raid the ship, which it said had a history of involvement in drug smuggling, and warned the vessel would be violating United Nations Security Council resolutions by shipping arms.
The United Nations has imposed a raft of sanctions on North Korea, including strict regulations on arms shipments, for flouting measures aimed at curbing its nuclear weapons program.
All 35 members of the crew of the ship were arrested after resisting Panamanian orders and are now being questioned at Fort Sherman, a former U.S. Army Base on the Atlantic, officials said.
Presented by Adam Justice