Australian vessel bound for Iran carrying North Korean arms seized

August 31, 2009 by J-Wire Staff
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Investigations are underway following the seizure of an Australian vessel by the United Arab Emirates.

The ship was carrying weaponry made by the communist state and was believed to be heading to Iran to discharge its cargo. The United Nations security Council has been informed and in turn has requested information from North Korea and Iran. A diplomat told media: “We don’t expect a very detailed response.”

Anthony Albanese

Anthony Albanese

Now authorities want to know if Australian law was broken as the cargo ship ANL Australia was carrying banned freight believed to include rocket-propelled grenades.

United Nations Security Council resolution 1874 bans all arms exports from North Korea. Any country suspecting a ship to be carrying such exports is authorised by the resolution to seize the vessel and destroy the banned items.

North Korea tested a nuclear weapon in 2006  following up with a second test in May this year invoking the implementation of the resolution.

The United Arab Emirates acted on the basis of their own Intelligence.

Minister for Shipping Anthony Albanese was questioned on the incident by Channel Nine’s Laurie Oakes. He responded:  “We take our obligations under the UN Security Council resolutions seriously. We regard that all Australian companies are also obliged to obey Australian law.”

Albanese confirmed that weapons had been found on the vessel. He added: “We are investigating as to whether there have been  any breaches of Australian law. If there have been, that will be referred to the appropriate police authorities.”

The cargo was loaded on to the Australia in China.

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