Colombia has freed Da Dan Xia, COSCO Shipping’s heavy-lift vessel involved in an illegal arms transport, and has ordered the ship to head to Havana, Cuba, on 21 April.
The ship was detained in Cartagena by Colombian authorities in March this year for carrying illegal weapons. Approximately 100 tonnes of gunpowder, 2.6 million detonators, 99 projectiles, and about 3,000 cannon shells were found on the Hong Kong-flagged ship, which was bound for Cuba, according to local media.
The documents presented by the ship listed the contents as chemicals and spare parts, and containers labelled China North Industries Group Corporation (Norinco) – China’s biggest arms-maker – were also found aboard, according to Colombia’s Attorney General’s office.
The local court ultimately ruled that because there was no way to unload the weapons and materiel, they are to be shipped out. The court therefore ordered “to safeguard Cartagena residents and Colombians in general, the Chinese-flagged Da Dan Xian, to sail for Cuba”, according to the court statement.
The ship’s captain Wu Hong will remain in detention for further investigation for illegal weapons transport, officials said.
China’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson, Hua Chunying, said at a daily press briefing that the shipment was part of a “normal military trade agreement” and that there were no “sensitive substances” on board. Hua stressed that there was no violation of Chinese laws and regulations or the international obligations that China undertakes.