A rusty North Korean ship carrying huge cache of weapons was seized which was worth £17.3 million understood to be destined for Egyptian buyers.
The bulk freighter called Jie Shun was disguised in Cambodian colours, but had been sent by Pyongyang with 30,000 rocket-propelled grenades on board.
United Nations officials described it as the ‘largest seizure of ammunition in the history of sanctions against the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’.
A rusty North Korean ship was seized near the Suez Canal (pictured) with a huge cache of weapons worth £17.3 million understood to be destined for Egyptian buyers
A tip sent from the White House to Cairo, last August, warned of what was described as a mysterious vessel hurtling towards the Suez Canal.
Once the vessel entered Egyptians waters, customs agents acted on the intelligence and stormed the vessel.
The officials found the enormous stash of weapons under huge piles of iron, and seized the ship.
Since then, investigations have been ongoing in an attempt to find out where the rockets were destined for.
According to the Washington Post, it has not been revealed, that they were bought by Egyptians.
It is said that the ship was completely wrecked, and experts believe it was packed with a massive haul because it was set to be its last voyage.
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un
A Western diplomat told the Post: ‘The ship was in terrible shape.
‘This was a one-shot voyage, and the boat was probably intended for the scrap yard afterward.’
The boat was decaying rust corroding the hull, the vessel was caked in coal dust from previous journeys and a number of its featured were completely out of service.
Despite being in an awful state, Jie Shun set out on its 8,000-mile journey from Haeju on July 23 last year with a 23-man crew.
It was registered in Cambodia as a way for it to cruise the waters without drawing the attention of the authorities.
Last August, a tip sent from the White House to Cairo warned of what was described as a mysterious vessel hurtling towards the Suez Canal
UN carried out the investigation, lifted the lid on the complex deal supposedly arranged by Egyptian executives.
They ordered millions of dollars worth of rockets for the country’s army and went out of their way to make sure the transactions could not be traced back to them.
With UN sanctions increasingly squeezing Pyongyang’s economy, the case offers a glimpse into the global arms trade keeping Kim Jong-un’s hermit kingdom afloat.