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Weapons Found on N. Korean Ship

  • Military equipment lays in containers aboard a North Korean-flagged ship at the Manzanillo International container terminal on the coast of Colon City, Panama, Tuesday, July 16, 2013. A North Korean ship carrying weapons system parts buried under sacks of sugar was seized as it tried to cross the Panama Canal on its way from Cuba to its home country, which is under a United Nations arms embargo, Panamanian officials said Tuesday. (AP Photo/Arnulfo Franco)

    Military equipment lays in containers aboard a North Korean-flagged ship at the Manzanillo International container terminal on the coast of Colon City, Panama, Tuesday, July 16, 2013. A North Korean ship carrying weapons system parts buried under sacks of sugar was seized as it tried to cross the Panama Canal on its way from Cuba to its home country, which is under a United Nations arms embargo, Panamanian officials said Tuesday. (AP Photo/Arnulfo Franco)

  • Military equipment lays in containers aboard a North Korean-flagged ship at the Manzanillo International container terminal on the coast of Colon City, Panama, Tuesday, July 16, 2013. A North Korean ship carrying weapons system parts buried under sacks of sugar was seized as it tried to cross the Panama Canal on its way from Cuba to its home country, which is under a United Nations arms embargo, Panamanian officials said Tuesday. (AP Photo/Arnulfo Franco)

    Military equipment lays in containers aboard a North Korean-flagged ship at the Manzanillo International container terminal on the coast of Colon City, Panama, Tuesday, July 16, 2013. A North Korean ship carrying weapons system parts buried under sacks of sugar was seized as it tried to cross the Panama Canal on its way from Cuba to its home country, which is under a United Nations arms embargo, Panamanian officials said Tuesday. (AP Photo/Arnulfo Franco)

  • Military equipment lays in containers aboard a North Korean-flagged ship at the Manzanillo International container terminal on the coast of Colon City, Panama, Tuesday, July 16, 2013. A North Korean ship carrying weapons system parts buried under sacks of sugar was seized as it tried to cross the Panama Canal on its way from Cuba to its home country, which is under a United Nations arms embargo, Panamanian officials said Tuesday. (AP Photo/Arnulfo Franco)

    Military equipment lays in containers aboard a North Korean-flagged ship at the Manzanillo International container terminal on the coast of Colon City, Panama, Tuesday, July 16, 2013. A North Korean ship carrying weapons system parts buried under sacks of sugar was seized as it tried to cross the Panama Canal on its way from Cuba to its home country, which is under a United Nations arms embargo, Panamanian officials said Tuesday. (AP Photo/Arnulfo Franco)

  • Panamanian workers stand inside a container aboard a North Korean-flagged ship at the Manzanillo International container terminal on the coast of Colon City, Panama, Tuesday, July 16, 2013. The North Korean ship carrying weapons system parts buried under sacks of sugar was seized as it tried to cross the Panama Canal on its way from Cuba to its home country, which is under a United Nations arms embargo, Panamanian officials said Tuesday. (AP Photo/Arnulfo Franco)

    Panamanian workers stand inside a container aboard a North Korean-flagged ship at the Manzanillo International container terminal on the coast of Colon City, Panama, Tuesday, July 16, 2013. The North Korean ship carrying weapons system parts buried under sacks of sugar was seized as it tried to cross the Panama Canal on its way from Cuba to its home country, which is under a United Nations arms embargo, Panamanian officials said Tuesday. (AP Photo/Arnulfo Franco)

  • Panamanian workers stand inside a container aboard a North Korean-flagged ship at the Manzanillo International container terminal on the coast of Colon City, Panama, Tuesday, July 16, 2013. The North Korean ship carrying weapons system parts buried under sacks of sugar was seized as it tried to cross the Panama Canal on its way from Cuba to its home country, which is under a United Nations arms embargo, Panamanian officials said Tuesday. (AP Photo/Arnulfo Franco)

    Panamanian workers stand inside a container aboard a North Korean-flagged ship at the Manzanillo International container terminal on the coast of Colon City, Panama, Tuesday, July 16, 2013. The North Korean ship carrying weapons system parts buried under sacks of sugar was seized as it tried to cross the Panama Canal on its way from Cuba to its home country, which is under a United Nations arms embargo, Panamanian officials said Tuesday. (AP Photo/Arnulfo Franco)

  • Panamanian police officers patrol a deck aboard a North Korean-flagged ship at the Manzanillo International container terminal on the coast of Colon City, Panama, Tuesday, July 16, 2013. The North Korean ship carrying weapons system parts buried under sacks of sugar was seized as it tried to cross the Panama Canal on its way from Cuba to its home country, which is under a United Nations arms embargo, Panamanian officials said Tuesday. (AP Photo/Arnulfo Franco)

    Panamanian police officers patrol a deck aboard a North Korean-flagged ship at the Manzanillo International container terminal on the coast of Colon City, Panama, Tuesday, July 16, 2013. The North Korean ship carrying weapons system parts buried under sacks of sugar was seized as it tried to cross the Panama Canal on its way from Cuba to its home country, which is under a United Nations arms embargo, Panamanian officials said Tuesday. (AP Photo/Arnulfo Franco)

  • Panamanian police officers patrol a deck aboard a North Korean-flagged ship at the Manzanillo International container terminal on the coast of Colon City, Panama, Tuesday, July 16, 2013. The North Korean ship carrying weapons system parts buried under sacks of sugar was seized as it tried to cross the Panama Canal on its way from Cuba to its home country, which is under a United Nations arms embargo, Panamanian officials said Tuesday. (AP Photo/Arnulfo Franco)

    Panamanian police officers patrol a deck aboard a North Korean-flagged ship at the Manzanillo International container terminal on the coast of Colon City, Panama, Tuesday, July 16, 2013. The North Korean ship carrying weapons system parts buried under sacks of sugar was seized as it tried to cross the Panama Canal on its way from Cuba to its home country, which is under a United Nations arms embargo, Panamanian officials said Tuesday. (AP Photo/Arnulfo Franco)

  • Military equipment lays in containers aboard a North Korean-flagged ship at the Manzanillo International container terminal on the coast of Colon City, Panama, Tuesday, July 16, 2013. A North Korean ship carrying weapons system parts buried under sacks of sugar was seized as it tried to cross the Panama Canal on its way from Cuba to its home country, which is under a United Nations arms embargo, Panamanian officials said Tuesday. (AP Photo/Arnulfo Franco)

    Military equipment lays in containers aboard a North Korean-flagged ship at the Manzanillo International container terminal on the coast of Colon City, Panama, Tuesday, July 16, 2013. A North Korean ship carrying weapons system parts buried under sacks of sugar was seized as it tried to cross the Panama Canal on its way from Cuba to its home country, which is under a United Nations arms embargo, Panamanian officials said Tuesday. (AP Photo/Arnulfo Franco)

  • The North Korean-flagged cargo ship Chong Chon Gang, yellow, sits docked at the Manzanillo International container terminal on the coast of Colon City, Panama, early Tuesday, July 16, 2013. Panama's president said the country has seized the ship, carrying what appeared to be ballistic missiles and other arms that had set sail from Cuba. (AP Photo/Arnulfo Franco)

    The North Korean-flagged cargo ship Chong Chon Gang, yellow, sits docked at the Manzanillo International container terminal on the coast of Colon City, Panama, early Tuesday, July 16, 2013. Panama's president said the country has seized the ship, carrying what appeared to be ballistic missiles and other arms that had set sail from Cuba. (AP Photo/Arnulfo Franco)

  • The North Korean-flagged cargo ship Chong Chon Gang, yellow, sits docked at the Manzanillo International container terminal on the coast of Colon City, Panama, early Tuesday, July 16, 2013. Panama's president said the country has seized the ship, carrying what appeared to be ballistic missiles and other arms that had set sail from Cuba. (AP Photo/Arnulfo Franco)

    The North Korean-flagged cargo ship Chong Chon Gang, yellow, sits docked at the Manzanillo International container terminal on the coast of Colon City, Panama, early Tuesday, July 16, 2013. Panama's president said the country has seized the ship, carrying what appeared to be ballistic missiles and other arms that had set sail from Cuba. (AP Photo/Arnulfo Franco)

  • The North Korean-flagged cargo ship Chong Chon Gang, yellow, sits docked at the Manzanillo International container terminal on the coast of Colon City, Panama, early Tuesday, July 16, 2013. Panama's president said the country has seized the ship, carrying what appeared to be ballistic missiles and other arms that had set sail from Cuba. (AP Photo/Arnulfo Franco)

    The North Korean-flagged cargo ship Chong Chon Gang, yellow, sits docked at the Manzanillo International container terminal on the coast of Colon City, Panama, early Tuesday, July 16, 2013. Panama's president said the country has seized the ship, carrying what appeared to be ballistic missiles and other arms that had set sail from Cuba. (AP Photo/Arnulfo Franco)

  • Police patrol by boat next to the North Korean-flagged cargo ship Chong Chon Gang docked at the Manzanillo International container terminal on the coast of Colon City, Panama, Tuesday, July 16, 2013. Panama's president said the country has seized the ship, carrying what appeared to be ballistic missiles and other arms that had set sail from Cuba. (AP Photo/Arnulfo Franco)

    Police patrol by boat next to the North Korean-flagged cargo ship Chong Chon Gang docked at the Manzanillo International container terminal on the coast of Colon City, Panama, Tuesday, July 16, 2013. Panama's president said the country has seized the ship, carrying what appeared to be ballistic missiles and other arms that had set sail from Cuba. (AP Photo/Arnulfo Franco)

  • Police patrol by boat next to the North Korean-flagged cargo ship Chong Chon Gang docked at the Manzanillo International container terminal on the coast of Colon City, Panama, Tuesday, July 16, 2013. Panama's president said the country has seized the ship, carrying what appeared to be ballistic missiles and other arms that had set sail from Cuba. (AP Photo/Arnulfo Franco)

    Police patrol by boat next to the North Korean-flagged cargo ship Chong Chon Gang docked at the Manzanillo International container terminal on the coast of Colon City, Panama, Tuesday, July 16, 2013. Panama's president said the country has seized the ship, carrying what appeared to be ballistic missiles and other arms that had set sail from Cuba. (AP Photo/Arnulfo Franco)

  • Military equipment lays in containers aboard a North Korean-flagged ship at the Manzanillo International container terminal on the coast of Colon City, Panama, Tuesday, July 16, 2013. A North Korean ship carrying weapons system parts buried under sacks of sugar was seized as it tried to cross the Panama Canal on its way from Cuba to its home country, which is under a United Nations arms embargo, Panamanian officials said Tuesday. (AP Photo/Arnulfo Franco)
  • Military equipment lays in containers aboard a North Korean-flagged ship at the Manzanillo International container terminal on the coast of Colon City, Panama, Tuesday, July 16, 2013. A North Korean ship carrying weapons system parts buried under sacks of sugar was seized as it tried to cross the Panama Canal on its way from Cuba to its home country, which is under a United Nations arms embargo, Panamanian officials said Tuesday. (AP Photo/Arnulfo Franco)
  • Military equipment lays in containers aboard a North Korean-flagged ship at the Manzanillo International container terminal on the coast of Colon City, Panama, Tuesday, July 16, 2013. A North Korean ship carrying weapons system parts buried under sacks of sugar was seized as it tried to cross the Panama Canal on its way from Cuba to its home country, which is under a United Nations arms embargo, Panamanian officials said Tuesday. (AP Photo/Arnulfo Franco)
  • Panamanian workers stand inside a container aboard a North Korean-flagged ship at the Manzanillo International container terminal on the coast of Colon City, Panama, Tuesday, July 16, 2013. The North Korean ship carrying weapons system parts buried under sacks of sugar was seized as it tried to cross the Panama Canal on its way from Cuba to its home country, which is under a United Nations arms embargo, Panamanian officials said Tuesday. (AP Photo/Arnulfo Franco)
  • Panamanian workers stand inside a container aboard a North Korean-flagged ship at the Manzanillo International container terminal on the coast of Colon City, Panama, Tuesday, July 16, 2013. The North Korean ship carrying weapons system parts buried under sacks of sugar was seized as it tried to cross the Panama Canal on its way from Cuba to its home country, which is under a United Nations arms embargo, Panamanian officials said Tuesday. (AP Photo/Arnulfo Franco)
  • Panamanian police officers patrol a deck aboard a North Korean-flagged ship at the Manzanillo International container terminal on the coast of Colon City, Panama, Tuesday, July 16, 2013. The North Korean ship carrying weapons system parts buried under sacks of sugar was seized as it tried to cross the Panama Canal on its way from Cuba to its home country, which is under a United Nations arms embargo, Panamanian officials said Tuesday. (AP Photo/Arnulfo Franco)
  • Panamanian police officers patrol a deck aboard a North Korean-flagged ship at the Manzanillo International container terminal on the coast of Colon City, Panama, Tuesday, July 16, 2013. The North Korean ship carrying weapons system parts buried under sacks of sugar was seized as it tried to cross the Panama Canal on its way from Cuba to its home country, which is under a United Nations arms embargo, Panamanian officials said Tuesday. (AP Photo/Arnulfo Franco)
  • Military equipment lays in containers aboard a North Korean-flagged ship at the Manzanillo International container terminal on the coast of Colon City, Panama, Tuesday, July 16, 2013. A North Korean ship carrying weapons system parts buried under sacks of sugar was seized as it tried to cross the Panama Canal on its way from Cuba to its home country, which is under a United Nations arms embargo, Panamanian officials said Tuesday. (AP Photo/Arnulfo Franco)
  • The North Korean-flagged cargo ship Chong Chon Gang, yellow, sits docked at the Manzanillo International container terminal on the coast of Colon City, Panama, early Tuesday, July 16, 2013. Panama's president said the country has seized the ship, carrying what appeared to be ballistic missiles and other arms that had set sail from Cuba. (AP Photo/Arnulfo Franco)
  • The North Korean-flagged cargo ship Chong Chon Gang, yellow, sits docked at the Manzanillo International container terminal on the coast of Colon City, Panama, early Tuesday, July 16, 2013. Panama's president said the country has seized the ship, carrying what appeared to be ballistic missiles and other arms that had set sail from Cuba. (AP Photo/Arnulfo Franco)
  • The North Korean-flagged cargo ship Chong Chon Gang, yellow, sits docked at the Manzanillo International container terminal on the coast of Colon City, Panama, early Tuesday, July 16, 2013. Panama's president said the country has seized the ship, carrying what appeared to be ballistic missiles and other arms that had set sail from Cuba. (AP Photo/Arnulfo Franco)
  • Police patrol by boat next to the North Korean-flagged cargo ship Chong Chon Gang docked at the Manzanillo International container terminal on the coast of Colon City, Panama, Tuesday, July 16, 2013. Panama's president said the country has seized the ship, carrying what appeared to be ballistic missiles and other arms that had set sail from Cuba. (AP Photo/Arnulfo Franco)
  • Police patrol by boat next to the North Korean-flagged cargo ship Chong Chon Gang docked at the Manzanillo International container terminal on the coast of Colon City, Panama, Tuesday, July 16, 2013. Panama's president said the country has seized the ship, carrying what appeared to be ballistic missiles and other arms that had set sail from Cuba. (AP Photo/Arnulfo Franco)

Panama City — A North Korean ship carrying weapons system parts buried under sacks of sugar was seized as it tried to cross the Panama Canal on its way from Cuba to its home country, which is barred by United Nations sanctions from importing sophisticated weapons or missiles, Panamanian officials said Tuesday.

The ship appeared to be transporting a radar-control system for a Soviet-era surface-to-air missile system, according to a private defense analysis firm that examined a photograph posted on Twitter by Panamanian President Ricardo Martinelli.

Martinelli said the ship identified as the 14,000-ton Chong Chon Gang was carrying missiles and other arms, but he provided no specific evidence or details about the cargo. He said on his Twitter account that the arms were “hidden in containers underneath the cargo of sugar.”

The photo posted by the president shows a green tube that appears to be a horizontal antenna for the SNR-75 “Fan Song” radar, which used to guide missiles fired by the SA-2 air-defense system found in former Warsaw Pact and Soviet-allied nations, said Neil Ashdown, an analyst for IHS Jane’s Intelligence.

Jane’s isn’t sure where the system in the photo was manufactured but the radar would be useful to North Korea as part of a dense air defense network, Ashdown said.

“It is possible that this could be being sent to North Korea to update its high altitude air-defense capabilities,” he said.

One container buried under sugar sacks contained radar equipment that appears to be designed for use with air-to-air or surface-to-air missiles, said Belsio Gonzalez, director of Panama’s National Aeronautics and Ocean Administration. He said Panamanian authorities expected to find the missiles themselves in containers that must still be searched. An Associated Press journalist who gained access to the rusting ship saw green shipping containers that had been covered by hundreds, perhaps thousands, of white sacks marked “Cuban Raw Sugar.”

The U.N. Security Council has imposed four rounds of increasingly tougher sanctions against North Korea since its first nuclear test on Oct. 9, 2006.

Under current sanctions, all U.N. member states are prohibited from directly or indirectly supplying, selling or transferring all arms, missiles or missile systems and the equipment and technology to make them to North Korea, with the exception of small arms and light weapons.

The most recent resolution, approved in March after Pyongyang’s latest nuclear test, authorizes all countries to inspect cargo in or transiting through their territory that originated in North Korea, or is destined to North Korea, “if the state concerned has credible information that provides reasonable grounds to believe the cargo contains items the supply, sale, transfer or export of which is prohibited” by Security Council resolutions.

“Panama obviously has an important responsibility to ensure that the Panama Canal is utilized for safe and legal commerce. Shipments of arms or related material to or from Korea would violate Security Council resolutions, three of them as a matter of fact. Obviously this shipment, if it’s confirmed to have what we suspect, would be of interest to the sanctions committee,” said Acting U.S. Ambassador Rosemary DiCarlo, who is the current Security Council president.

Panamanian authorities believe the ship was returning from Havana on its way to North Korea, Panamanian Public Security Minister Jose Raul Mulino told The Associated Press. Based on unspecified intelligence, authorities suspected it could be carrying contraband and tried to communicate with the crew, who didn’t respond.

The 35 North Koreans on the boat were arrested after resisting police efforts to intercept the ship in Panamanian waters on Thursday as it moved toward the canal, Martinelli told private RPC radio station. The captain had a heart attack and also tried to commit suicide during the operation, Martinelli said.