Second N Korean vessel detained for safety violations

AP , HONG KONG

Sat, Oct 28, 2006 - Page 5

The second North Korean cargo ship in a week has been detained in Hong Kong for safety violations apparently unrelated to UN sanctions imposed on Pyongyang over its recent nuclear test, an official said yesterday.

The ship, Kang Nam 5, arrived empty in Hong Kong on Wednesday from Kaohsiung and marine inspectors detained it Thursday after finding its lifesaving, communications and emergency lighting equipment, ship inspection papers and navigational charts were either outdated or insufficient, Marine Department spokeswoman Daisy Lo said.

Lo said the detention was unrelated to UN sanctions recently passed authorizing inspections of North Korean ships. The UN measures were approved in response to North Korea's Oct. 9 nuclear test.

"This is our routine work," she said, adding the North Korean vessel would be released once it brings its safety measures up to standards.

Kang Nam 5 was scheduled to return to Kaohsiung with a shipment, Lo said. A woman who answered the phone at Kang Nam 5's local shipping agent, Topping Enterprises, said the ship normally carries scrap metal.

She declined to give her name.

The Kang Nam 5's detention came three days after Hong Kong officials detained the Kang Nam I, also for safety violations. Inspectors found faulty navigational, firefighting and life safety equipment on the craft, as well as outdated nautical charts.

Kang Nam I is still being held because it hasn't passed a second inspection, which ship officials haven't requested yet, Lo said.