Naval Chief says investigation of North Korean ship is going on

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New Delhi, Aug 8 (ANI): Chief of Naval Staff Admiral Sureesh Mehta, said on Saturday that there was nothing to panic and the investigation of crewmembers of the North Korean ship detained by the Coast Guard near Andaman and Nicobar is lands is still going on.

Admiral Mehta clarified that no suspicious thing has been found on the ship so far. He, however, added that the agencies were still searching the vessel.

The Indian Coast Guard detained a suspicious North Korean ship with 39 crewmembers on board late on Friday in the Indian Ocean.

Sources said the ship MV Musen, had dropped anchor off Andaman and Nicobar coast without taking permission from Indian authorities.

The officials of the Integrated Command and the Intelligence Bureau (IB) are investigating the ship and all its crewmembers. The Indian officials are facing difficulty in communicating with the crew because of the language problem, sources said.

Meanwhile, sources said the captain of the ship has told investigators that they illegally entered the territorial waters due to "mechanical" problems.

The ship, which had embarked on its journey from Thailand on July 27 with 1,600 tonnes of sugar to be shipped off to Iraq, stopped at Singapore without permission and then moved ahead without proper passport stamping done.

The Coast Guard helicopters identified the ship in Indian waters. The ship did not respond to the signals, following which the Coast Guard ships chased the vessel and made it obey its orders.

Earlier, the ship dropped anchor at Hut Bay without any permission. Even the logbook of the vessel was found to be vague, sources said.

North Korean sales of missiles and other weapons materials to tense and unstable parts of the world have long been a major concern for the United States and its allies, due to this its ships are frequently stopped and inspected.

In four publicly known cases between 1992-2003 in which North Korean vessels were stopped on suspicion of shipping weapons of mass destruction components or chemicals, none was prosecuted because the cargo was either undetermined, legal or "dual-use," sources said.(ANI)

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