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North Korean ship's cargo to be off-loaded, searched in AP

August 23, 2009 16:19 IST

The cargo on board the suspect North Korean vessel MV Mu San will be off loaded in Kakinada, Andhra Pradesh on Sunday and searched for any suspect material onboard.

Sources said central security agencies and nuclear scientists will conduct a thorough investigation to check if the ship is carrying any radioactive and nuclear material.

Apart from that, the 39-member crew of the ship, its North Korean captain Yun Jong Sun, would be questioned by the authorities at the port itself.

The vessel from Pyongyang has raised eyebrows for a number of reasons.

There are fears that it may contain traces of chemical or radio active material and another point of contention is the fact that there is a North Korean government official onboard, which prompts questions on the credibility of the claim, that the ship is a merchant vessel.

Another critical question which needs to be answered is why there were conflicting claims made by the crew on their entry to different international ports, which did not corroborate with their passports.

Earlier, the seized North Korean vessel M V Mu San left Hut Bay in Andaman waters for Kakinada Port.

The Indian Coast Guard escorted the North Korean vessel, official sources said. 

The MV Mu San is likely to be booked under the Indian Maritime Act for illegally entering Indian waters.

According to sources, the Union Home Ministry, Defence Ministry and External Affairs Ministry are coordinating with each other to finalise procedure in this regard.

The Coast Guard detained the North Korean vessel after chasing it for over six hours, near Andaman and Nicobar Islands, on August 6.

The Union Home Ministry had sent a letter to the Port Blair police, asking it to file a report on the entire chain of events, which led to the interception of the ship.

A team of two nuclear scientists from the Kalpakam Nuclear Power Station had carried out a preliminary investigation of the ship and ruled out the existence of any chemical, biological, radioactive and nuclear (CBRN) traces on board the vessel.

Indian security agencies want to find out whether there was any CBRN consignment with sophisticated equipments.

The ship is said to be carrying 3.3 lakh gunny bags of sugar weighing 16,500 kilograms, sources said.

Source: ANI