A ship carrying missile material headed for North Korea was stopped in Panama today, reports the AFP. President Ricardo Martinelli tweeted that the ship, which departed Cuba with a cargo of sugar, was housing containers carrying the material, pictured below.
Material venia escondido en contenedores bajo un cargamento de azucar pic.twitter.com/x1OqI7SOhX— Ricardo Martinelli (@rmartinelli) July 16, 2013
Speaking to the media, Martinelli stated that "When we started to unload the shipment of sugar we located containers that we believe to be sophisticated missile equipment, and that is not allowed." Over the past year, North Korea has become increasingly adventurous with its military testing, detonating a nuclear device in February, and launching a satellite into orbit late last year.
When detained by the Panamanian government, the North Korean vessel’s captain reportedly attempted to commit suicide while a riot broke out amongst the crew. As the AFP points out, communist Cuba is one of North Korea’s few allies. Martinelli says the authorities are holding the ship for further investigation.