Thursday, August 20, 2009

Another shoe drops on India's detaining the North Korean vessel 'MV Mu San'

Slowly but surely everything about India's capture of the 'MV Mu San' is emerging in cyberspace. Briefly the Indian coast guard after a chase boarded the North Korean vessel in the Bay of Bengal off the Andaman and Nicobar islans which New Delhi considers of vital and strategica importance. Suffice to say, the 'MV Mu San' captain and crew did not anchor without a chase.
The DPRK [Democratic People's Republic of Korea aka North Korea] is subject to sanctions under the US inspired UN resolution 1854, which calls on the world body's member to stop and inspect DPRK ships, suspected of carrying nuclear technology.
To India fell the signal honour of capturing a North Korean vessel. The 'MV Mu San' skipper spoke of 'mechanical difficulties' for being in Indian waters. Indian authorities were wary of this story. What's more, upon inspection of untidy ship's log, the vessel had made runs to China in previous sailings. New Delhi's suspicions had been heightened by the proximity of the vessel to Myanmar, which US intelligence kept beating the hollow drum that Pyongyang was helping the Burmese military junta construct a nuclear facility, a rumour which remains to be proven.
India found in the ship's hold 16.500 tonnes of sugar bound for ports in the Persian Gulf, and no other cargo. Furthermore, it did discover that the 'MV Su Man' had docked or refueled in Singapore. The city state simply did not detain the ship or took cover by ignoring the existence of the ship, thereby avoiding a sack of trouble by applying sanctions.
It does not take a great deal of head scratching to figure out that the DPRK in pursuit of normal commercial life, sought to out run any sanctions. UN resolution 1854 would as its US sponsor hoped, turn the economic screws on Pyongyang's fragile economy, and thus deny it strong currency in the bank.
Nonetheless Indian sources talk of a 'government official' aboard the 'MV Mu San', without further clarification. Communist countries always had a 'political commissar' in units or crews, to keep an eye on their citizens. So the explanation might be as simple as that.
New Delhi has egg on its face in stopping 'MV Su Man'. Of course, it has rights to do so especially when the vessel is 'anchoring' unannounced in its territorial waters, but after days of diligent interrogations of captain and crew, it came up with nothing. And so, will have to allow the 'MV Mu Sun' to go on its way to its final destination.
By uncovering a cargo of sugar, the dramatic turn of events has made long fire, but did underscore the paranoia on which the US has built its cards of sanctions.

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