North Korea Arms Carrier Pays Panama Canal Fine
The Panama Canal Authority (ACP) informs that representatives of the ship 'Chong Chon Gang' have paid the total amount of the fine for US$693,333.10 set due to the violation of the Regulations for Navigation in Canal Waters and consequently the ACP has authorized the release of the ship.
ACP add that in the case of the ship Chong Chon Gang, its competence was limited to the violation of the vessel to Canal regulations, and is not related to any other fault outside Panama Canal jurisdiction.
The North Korean freighter was stopped on July 10, 2013, on suspicion of carrying drugs as it tried to enter the Panama Canal. A search uncovered 25 containers of Cuban military hardware, including two Soviet-era MiG-21 aircraft, air defense systems, missiles and command and control vehicles.
In January 2014, Panamanian authorities released 32 of the 35 North Koreans detained earlier. The remaining three North Koreans -- the vessel's captain, first officer and political secretary -- face trial on arms trafficking charges.