Lawyer: Panama sets $1M fine for North Korea ship

AP News
Posted: Nov 20, 2013 10:03 PM

PANAMA CITY (AP) — The lawyer for the crew members of a North Korean ship seized by Panama says the Panamanian government wants $1 million to allow the vessel to leave.

Attorney Julio Berrios says a delegation of seven North Korean diplomats was informed of the amount in a meeting with Panamanian officials Wednesday. He says North Korea considers the fine "unjust."

Panamanian authorities previously said they would impose an unspecified fine because the ship's crew threatened Panama's security by not declaring it was transporting weapons.

The ship was headed from Cuba to North Korea when it was seized by Panamanian authorities, who said they suspected it carried drugs. Officials say the ship carried two Cuban fighter jets in perfect condition, contradicting Cuba's explanation that the cargo included "obsolete defensive weapons."