Colombian authorities detained the captain of a Chinese ship that was heading for Cuba illegally carrying firearms and explosives.
The vessel, Da Dan Xia, was stopped in the Caribbean port of Cartagena on Sunday night. It had an ultimate destination of Havana, Cuba.
Initial authority checks seemed to uncover documentation to verify all cargo.
However, a routine narcotics investigation uncovered approximately 100 tonnes of gunpowder, 3,000 canon shells and almost 3 million detonators aboard the ship, according to officials.
The ship’s paperwork did not account the weapons aboard as cargo. An official source of the investigation revealed that necessary documents were missing from at least seven of the 14 carrying containers.
“The documentation that the captain had in regards to the merchandise that was being transported did not correspond to what we found,” stated Luis Gonzalez, national director of the Colombian attorney general’s office.
The Chinese captain of Da Dan Xia, Wu Hong, is to be charged with weapons trafficking, Gonzalez added.
The vessel was held and searched for 48 hours before the order to arrest Wu Hong was given.
Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying denied the Captain’s violation of any international laws.
“It is completely normal military trade co-operation,” said Chunying.
The ship’s itinerary included a delivery of tubes to a petroleum company in Cartagena, and a further stop in the coastal city of Barranquilla. Its final destination was Havana, Cuba.
The talks aim to establish a permanent ceasefire with the leftist guerilla group, putting an end to their 50-year-long attempt to overthrow the Colombian government.