Round And Round She Goes, Where She’ll Stop, Nobody Knows

Kang Nam may be heading back home

The Kang Nam, a North Korean ship suspected to be carrying illicit weapons or related material, may be headed back home, according to diplomatic sources here.

“The ship is near our waters. That is about all I can say,” said one diplomatic source on the condition of anonymity.

Experts said this could mean that the ship is on its way back to North Korea, indicating that the latest United Nations Security Council sanctions are taking a toll on the reclusive communist state.

“If the ship is on its way back, it would mean that Resolution 1874 is taking effect and causing the North to retreat,” said Kim Tae-woo, vice president of the Korea Institute for Defense Analyses.

It has been almost two weeks since the Kang Nam set sail on June 17, but Seoul has claimed it has no information on the whereabouts of the ship.

The Kang Nam is the first North Korean ship to come under international scrutiny since the U.N. Security Council adopted Resolution 1874 that strongly recommends member states to help search and ground North Korean ships suspected of carrying illicit weapons or related material.

Some observers said the Kang Nam may have already unloaded such items, but others said the North would wait until the last minute, as the weapons and materials constitute a vital source of funds for the impoverished regime.

Myanmar, the alleged destination of the Kang Nam, has recently told the foreign press that it would not allow the ship to disembark if it is found to be indeed carrying such items.

The government of Myanmar already has an idea of the items on the ship as the Kang Nam must declare them in advance, according to Foreign Ministry officials.

“The fact that the Myanmarese government has spoken out, if it has as some of the news reports claim, it indicates that the resolution is working,” said one Foreign Ministry official.

The Myanmar Embassy here said it had no comment.

A United States destroyer – USS John McCain led by Capt. Jeffrey Kim – is reportedly close on the Kang Nam’s tail. But the destroyer is not authorized to forcefully search the North Korean ship.

See also:
North Korean Ship Turning Around
Source: Suspected NKorean ship changes course
US-tracked N Korea ship ‘changes course’
N.Korean ship tracked by U.S. Navy reverses course
Source: North Korean ship now going the other way
North Korea suspect ship has turned around: US official
Burma ‘Ready to Search N.Korean Ship’
Hey Obama, Thanks For The Naval Escort!

Now why would the Kang Nam, after almost two weeks at sea, suddenly decide to turn around and return to North Korea, without unloading her cargo? It just doesn’t make sense, something about this storyline doesn’t quite smell right.

/stay tuned, this saga isn’t over until the Kang Nam ends up in port somewhere