reports the seizure occurred in November when South African authorities were tipped off about a ship heading for the Republic of Congo’s capital, Brazzaville. The information was contained in a letter to the UN sanctions committee. The shipment violated a UN ban on arms sales by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), otherwise known as North Korea.
South Africa’s Defenceweb
said the incident was a ”clear-cut violation” of Security Council resolution 1874, which bans all types of arms sales as well as weapons imports by the isolated Stalinist state.
A North Korean company first loaded the shipment onto a vessel in China, and then transferred them to a ship owned by a French company in Malaysia.
The French company alerted South African authorities to the fact that it had suspicious cargo on board. South Africa intercepted the vessel and seized the containers that held tank parts. Defenceweb quoted the letter, which explained that the South Africans had found:
That the contents fell within the definition of conventional arms in that the contents consisted of components of a military tank T-54/T-55.
The letter said the cargo had been described as ”spare parts of bulldozer." The T-54/55 series of tanks was produced in the Soviet Union in the 1950s, and was first used in the Hungarian Revolution o
f 1956. It became the USSR’s main export tank to Third World countries because of the simplicity of its design and rugged features even after it was obsolete.
The Republic of the Congo, also known as Congo Brazzaville, has recently seen violence in what had been one of Central Africa’s relatively calmer countries.