Cuba’s Ministry of Foreign Relations claims that the missile systems that Panama seized from a North Korea-flag ship were “obsolete defensive weapons” that Cuba was sending to North Korea for repair, Miami Herald reports.
The weaponry, which has totaled 240 metric tons so far, included two anti-aircraft missile complexes, nine missiles in parts and spares, two MiG-21 jets and 15 motors for MiGs, according to the ministry.
Panamanian authorities still have not sorted through all of the cargo aboard the 508-foot-long Chong Chon Gang, which is docked in the Port of Manzanillo on the Atlantic side of the Panama Canal. Inspectors said the process could take up to eight days.
The ship had arrived from Havana at the entrance of the canal in preparation for transiting to the Pacific Ocean, said Jose Raul Mulino, Panama’s security minister, to Radio Panama. Officials halted the freighter after receiving intelligence that it was carrying a large quantity of narcotics, he said.