July 18 - North Korea urges the release of seized arms smuggling ship and crew as Panama calls in UN for further checks. Paul Chapman reports.
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North Korea's asking for the return of its crew and the ship seized by Panama with a haul of weapons from Cuba on board.
Panamanian authorities say it's going to take up to 10 days to unload the vessel because its electrical system was disabled by the crew.
Some 350 police and customs officers are swarming over the ship.
It has four storage areas, each with six containers.
So far only one area's been opened up, revealing missile equipment, MiG fighter jets and other arms.
Panama's security minister says the matter's being handed over to the United Nations.
(SOUNDBITE)(English) JOSE RAUL MULINO, PANAMA'S SECURITY MINISTER, SAYING:
"Our ambassador in the U.N. has already sent the invitations to evaluate and determine what this is all about in terms of several resolutions of the United Nations Security Council issued on the North Korean matter."
A team of U.N. investigators is expected to arrive in Panama in early August once the vessel's unloaded.
Officials have found more containers they suspect might conceal armaments.
Cuba's said the weapons are obsolete Soviet-era ones it was sending to North Korea for repair.