Panamanians Seize N. Korean ship with Hidden Cargo

CNN reports there is a bit of a drama going on in Panama as the authorities there seized a N. Korean vessel attempting to transit the canal with undeclared weapon systems components, believed to part of an air to surface missile system. They are still unloading the ship and more may be found. Apparently the crew of the ship attempted to resist the boarding.

3 thoughts on “Panamanians Seize N. Korean ship with Hidden Cargo

  1. Chuck here is another link from The Sun

    Which states: “Coastguards in the Panama canal made the incredible find of “undeclared weapons of war” hidden among a shipment of brown sugar coming from Communist Cuba.

    The captain of the ship then tried to kill himself during the dramatic incident – rather than face punishment in Panama or possibly from North Korean dictator Kim Jong un.

    Violence broke out among the 35-strong crew as the North Korean-flagged ship was raided.”

    I just wonder how we would have handled this in our contiguos zone, any thoughts!

  2. Probably the Panamanian CG and the USCG are using similar techniques. No North Korean flag ship is going to come close to the US if it can help it, but we do have the possibility of a hostile government controlling a ship under a flag of convenience entering a US port for nefarious purposes. The CG is working on maritime domain awareness to identify such vessels, but I don’t know how effective the system is. What I am still uncomfortable with, is a suicidal effort using a medium to large ship. The time to detect, classify, investigate, confirm hostility and then generate an effective countermeasure is likely to exceed the time required for the hostile vessel to complete its mission, since CG units don’t currently have the weapons to deal with them. The type of information exchange talked about here,, may be critical if we could count on support from other military forces, but currently I doubt if we have any arrangements whereby attack aircraft are armed and on call to respond if the CG makes such a detection.

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