North Korea Agrees to Pay Panama for Seized Weapons Ship
Panama’s Foreign Minister, Fernando Nunez Fabrega, announced that the government of North Korea will pay the fine imposed by the Panama Canal Authority by the violation of the security of the international waterway of the Chong Chon Gang carrying war material prohibited by resolutions of United Nations (UN).
"…there has been an advance. The North Koreans have already confirmed that the Foreign Ministry in the course of next week are going to pay the fine in order to free those sailors and the ship," said Minister Nunez Fabrega.
The ACP fined the owners of the North Korean ship $1 million (now reduced to $670,000) for threatening not to report the path to the load carried.
The ship was captured before entering the Canal from Cuba, bound for North Korea, on the orders of the Anti-Drug Prosecutor on suspicion of carrying drugs, but after review, weapons of war that violated UN resolutions were discovered.
Minister Nunez Fabrega said that 32 of the 35 crew will leave the country. "They can leave the country immediately, as the Attorney said the sailors were simply not going to do them any charge. So I have to imagine that this will do immediately, pay nothing and can go, because the only thing that keeps them going is precisely the payment,” he stated.
He clarified that only three crew members will not be released, because they must answer charges of "acting against collective security."
He reported that it still has not been determined what the final destination of the cargo of sugar seized in deposits.
"The ship has no ban. They have to pay the penalty that put them on Canal and once that is achieved, you can be mounted on your vessel and leave," concluded Minister Nunez Fabrega.