Colombia Clears Departure of Chinese Weapons-Carrying Ship to Cuba

A Cartagena-based court has authorized a Chinese ship that was seized for transporting 100 tonnes of arms and explosives to Cuba to set sail.

The general cargo ship Da Dan Xia, has been detained at the Port of Cartagena since February, when the local port authorities found that the ship’s cargo was not grains as indicated in the vessel’s documentation but military equipment.

China’s foreign ministry said that the shipment was not illegal, and that the freighter had been involved in a normal trade co-operation. A Chinese official from the ministry said that the ship was carrying regular military supplies to Cuba, and did not violate any international obligations.

The court decision on freeing the vessel, announced on Tuesday, comes as the coastal city does not dispose of the necessary capacity to unload, store or destroy the cargo. Therefore, it has been decided to allow the vessel to sail to the Cuban port of Mariel.

The vessel’s captain Wu Hong, is pending a hearing under house arrest, the country’s prosecutor’s office said.

“The judge considered it necessary to free the ship with all the cargo to not put at risk our coastline or the communities,” said Guzman Vicente Herrera, head of the proescutor’s office.

The Da Dan Xia is operated by Cosco Shipping Co Ltd, part of the state-owned China Ocean Shipping Group Co.

World Maritime News Staff

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