Colombian court has authorized a Chinese ship to set sail to Havana after it was caught with undeclared weapons on board. On Tuesday, representative of the prosecutor’s office said that the ship captain was still under arrest and would stay until the criminal investigation ends. The court officials stated in their decision, that the weapons could not be unloaded due to safety reasons.

The Chinese Da Dan Xia was detained in the end of February after docking in Cartagena on the Caribbean coast. Colombian marine authorities found among the undeclared weapons 3,000 canon shells, 99 projectile bases, explosives and approximately 100 tones of gunpowder.

Da Dan Xia

Photo: Willy Trog

The ship documentation presented by the crew said, the Chinese cargo ship was carrying grains and was on its way to Barranquilla, before the ship’s last port of call in Havana. The misleading information given by Da Da Xia captain, Wo Hong, was the reason the ship to be held in port for further investigation for weapons trafficking.

Hua Chunyimg, spokeswoman of the Foreign Ministry of Beijing said the Chinese Da Dan Xia was transporting regular military supplies to Cuba within Chinese and International military law. She said the transport operation was a part of their trade and military collaboration with Cuba and this operation had not violated any international laws.

The judge who was looking the case in Cartagena, took the decision the Chinese ship to depart after nearly 2 months, because Colombian authorities do not have the possibilities to unload the military cargo, to keep it safe, disarm or destroy it.

Mr. Vicente Guzman, Head of Cartagena Prosecutor 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."

In July 2013, in the Panama Canal another cargo vessel was stopped. The North Korean Chong Chon Gang was found transporting Cuban weapons such as air missile systems and launchers. The cargo was hidden under bags with big quantity of sugar.

Related news: Vessel detained in Colombia over arms trafficking