December 10, 2002


Pentagon officials said Tuesday that U.S. military weapons specialists have found at least a dozen Scud missiles aboard a ship stopped en route from North Korea several hundred miles off the coast southeast of Yemen in the Indian Ocean. . . .

The ship -- called the So San -- was stopped Monday by the Spanish navy frigate Navarra, which had to fire several warning shots to get it to halt, a senior aide to the Spanish defense minister told CNN.

Once the ship stopped, about a dozen armed Spanish naval inspectors flew over by helicopter and boarded it.

Although the ship did not have a flag, the aide said its crew was North Korean.

When the Spanish crew looked into the cargo hold, they found containers buried in the cement.

They opened one container and found what appeared to be missile parts, officials said. The Spanish crew then called for assistance from the United States, and a U.S. explosives ordnance disposal team went on board.

Sounds like there's some good intelligence behind this. Of course, as a flagless vessel, it has no rights, which should make for a very thorough search.

UPDATE: A reader emails:

They thought they could get away with it.

They didn't count on the Spanish navy.

Noo-oo-body expects the Spanish Inquisition.