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Goodman: Scud ship investigations

Spanish special forces boarded the So San from a helicopter
Spanish special forces boarded the So San from a helicopter

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MADRID, Spain (CNN) -- Investigations are continuing after the Spanish navy found that a North Korean ship was carrying Scud missiles. CNN's Madrid Bureau Chief Al Goodman spoke to CNN anchor Ralitsa Vassileva about the incident.

GOODMAN: What we don't know is the actual destination. The Spanish defence minister said it was a Middle Eastern port and the So San's last port of call was China but he did not think China had anything to do with the weapons cargo aboard the ship.

He said he could not reveal where the cargo was going. Washington officials have told CNN they think it was going to Yemen. The interception was hundreds of miles off the coast of Yemen and the ship set sail from North Korea weeks ago.

VASSILEVA: On what authority was the ship stopped and was any law broken?

GOODMAN: The Spanish defence minister said the ship was not sailing a flag and it was asked by the Spanish frigate to show its flag and declare what it was doing. When it did not do that and tried to get away that was reason enough for the ship to be taken under international law.

The Spanish ship was on patrol as part of Operation Enduring Freedom which is specifically trying to control the movement of contraband or weapons cargo through that area and trying to intercept al Qaeda suspects who may be trying to get through that area.

We should point out that although North Korea is being blamed for putting these missiles aboard the ship, we are being told that there is no law that prohibits them from exporting missiles and no law that prohibits Yemen from buying those missiles.

But the U.S. authorities have said that North Korea is a prime exporter of ballistic missiles and they are trying to shut this down. In this case it looks like they have.

VASSILEVA: What is the situation on board now?

GOODMAN: Spanish investigators found the initial weapons on Monday and called in the U.S. team on Tuesday. There has been quite a thorough search of the ship.

(The initial find) was in dozens of metal containers hidden underneath sacks and sacks of cement, so it took a while to get down to them.

Also there was some concern that this ship does not explode so they have taken measures to make sure the ship is running safely.

There have been no injuries to either the Spanish or U.S. forces or to the 21 North Korean crew on board.



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