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South Korea on alert for possible Al Qaeda ship
Khaleej Times via Al Jazeera ^ | Oct. 30, 2003 | Agence France Presse

Posted on 10/30/2003 11:45:39 AM PST by FairOpinion

SEOUL - South Korean security authorities were ready to carry out on-board inspections of a Bahama-registered freighter after being tipped off that the ship might carry some members of Al-Qaeda, police said on Thursday.

The 17,000-tonne freighter, the Athenia, which was suspected of carrying members of Osama bin Laden’s Al Qaeda group, was due to arrive at the southwestern port of Kunsan late Thursday, the police said.

“We have been informed that Al Qaeda members might be hiding in the ship,” a police officer in charge of foreign affairs in Kunsan Police station told AFP.

“When the ship reaches the port, maritime police agents and immigration authorities will get aboard the ship and carry out sweeping inspections,” he said.

The Bahama-registered freighter, carrying logs, was sailing from New Zealand, the Moonhwa Daily reported Seoul said.

South Korea hosts some 37,000 US troops and there are many US military facilities in Kunsan including an airbase.

The alert came as Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld is expected to visit South Korea next month.


TOPICS: Foreign Affairs; Front Page News; News/Current Events; War on Terror
KEYWORDS: 200310; 20031030; alqaeda; athena; athenia; bahama; bahamas; donaldrumsfeld; iraq; logs; lumber; maritimesecurity; newzealand; nzealand; portsecurity; rumsfeld; ships; skorea; southkorea
I wouldn't have posted it in Breaking news, since it's from Al Jazeera, but it is being reported by Agence France Presse, a reputable mainstream news agency.
1 posted on 10/30/2003 11:45:39 AM PST by FairOpinion
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To: FairOpinion
It's also reported in other news sources:

http://www.stuff.co.nz/stuff/0,2106,2710587a10,00.html

http://www.swisspolitics.org/en/news/index.php?section=int&page=news_inhalt&news_id=4394902

2 posted on 10/30/2003 11:49:23 AM PST by FairOpinion
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To: FairOpinion
I suspect if Al Jazeera knows and the French knows, Al Qaeda knows.
3 posted on 10/30/2003 11:50:15 AM PST by Zathras
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To: Zathras
Yeah..agreed. Al Jizz-era is just the mouthpiece before the actual attack takes place.
4 posted on 10/30/2003 11:52:00 AM PST by My Favorite Headache (I Want A Girlfriend)
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To: Zathras
Agreed...
5 posted on 10/30/2003 11:52:26 AM PST by Brian S
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To: FairOpinion
Here's an update. Nothing suspicious was found on board, and the ship was allowed to depart New Zealand on Oct. 4.

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1011258/posts
6 posted on 10/30/2003 11:53:20 AM PST by freeperfromnj
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To: FairOpinion
One of these days were going to get real lucky.
7 posted on 10/30/2003 11:54:18 AM PST by aculeus
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To: FairOpinion
Somebody posted something like this the other day but it was deleted because there was no link to it.
8 posted on 10/30/2003 11:54:53 AM PST by ConservativeMan55 (The left always "feels your pain" unless of course they caused it.)
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To: freeperfromnj
Thanks. I saw that. But it seems something is still going on. Maybe the NZ customes missed something or the ship stopped somewhere else.

http://www.stuff.co.nz/stuff/0,2106,2710587a10,00.html

This has both stories, and the S. Korea one is later, as a follow up the the NZ one.

AQ could still be on the ship, they are good at fake documentation, etc.
9 posted on 10/30/2003 11:56:58 AM PST by FairOpinion
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To: FairOpinion
Whatever happened to these stories?

Us Navy Tracking Ships in the Med

3 Suspicious Ships in the Indian Ocean

10 posted on 10/30/2003 11:59:52 AM PST by m1-lightning (Lick your fingers and touch two pinball machines at the same time.)
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To: FairOpinion
Maybe the NZ customes missed something

Good point. THey were giving away free newspaper samples in the city this morning and the headline mentioned something about port security.

11 posted on 10/30/2003 12:01:03 PM PST by freeperfromnj
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To: FairOpinion
AQ could still be on the ship, they are good at fake documentation, etc.

More like the AQ's were not on the ship at all when she left New Zealand. The waters from Indonesia to the Southern Philipines are notorious for piracy. If pirates can stop and board a ship, then you can bet the AQ can also.

12 posted on 10/30/2003 12:05:02 PM PST by Labyrinthos
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To: FairOpinion
http://times.hankooki.com/lpage/nation/200310/kt2003103021542811970.htm

South Koreans Receive Threats in Iraq: Official



South Koreans in Iraq have become the target of threats by Iraqis, the Foreign Affairs and Trade Ministry said on Thursday.
In a briefing, Lee Kwang-jae, director of the ministry’s Middle East and African Affairs Bureau, said, ``A South Korean diplomat stationed there was recently kidnapped by two Iraqis and told to leave their country before being released.’’

Lee said that the branch office of KOTRA, the state-funded trade promoter, was shot at last August, while an employee of a Korean conglomerate there received a threat in the mail.

The middle east expert, who will depart for Iraq as deputy leader of the second Korean survey team today, said that he will do his best to come up with an objective report that will help determine the nature and size of a military contingent to be sent to Iraq.

Seoul has recently decided to send troops to Iraq, as requested by the United States, but the decision is facing strong public opposition. These incidents are likely to add to the opposition against sending troops to Iraq.

He said that his team is planning to make a stopover at Mosul, northern Iraq, where ROK troops will most likely be stationed.

The recent admission contradicts earlier evidence from defense officials as to the reception South Korean combat troops would receive in the war-torn country adding weight to anti-deployment activists' arguments about the safety of such a move.



Seo Soo-min Staff Reporter ssm@koreatimes.co.kr


10-30-2003 21:55

13 posted on 10/30/2003 12:09:22 PM PST by Shermy
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To: Labyrinthos
The waters from Indonesia to the Southern Philipines are notorious for piracy. If pirates can stop and board a ship, then you can bet the AQ can also.

And the US Navy's Aegis radar will pick that up too.

14 posted on 10/30/2003 12:22:21 PM PST by m1-lightning (Lick your fingers and touch two pinball machines at the same time.)
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To: m1-lightning
Then why are there so many pirates operating freely in the area?
15 posted on 10/30/2003 12:25:07 PM PST by Labyrinthos
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To: FairOpinion
Ship of Fools
16 posted on 10/30/2003 12:33:57 PM PST by Mike Darancette (No Taxation Without Respiration - Repeal Death Taxes!)
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To: Labyrinthos
Because they don't concern us.
17 posted on 10/30/2003 12:34:42 PM PST by m1-lightning (Lick your fingers and touch two pinball machines at the same time.)
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To: FairOpinion
Set torpedo depth for 20 feet. Fire one, fire two, fire three !!
18 posted on 10/30/2003 12:36:11 PM PST by ex-Texan (Reuters Deserves a Long Double Flush . . . Pull the Chain!)
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To: m1-lightning
I understand that we don't care about mere piracy. But how does the radar distinguish between piracy to steel a ship versus a piracy to place AQ on the ship?
19 posted on 10/30/2003 1:10:41 PM PST by Labyrinthos
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To: Labyrinthos
A change of course after at sea docking would indicate a possible new command or "piracy to steel a ship". If there is a ship of interest to the Navy, they will conduct reconnasaince to watch it regardless.
20 posted on 10/30/2003 1:20:53 PM PST by m1-lightning (Lick your fingers and touch two pinball machines at the same time.)
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To: All
Update:

S Korea finds no al Qaeda evidence on cargo ship
31 October 2003

KUNSAN: South Korea said on Friday it had found nothing unusual on a Greek-owned ship after an investigation sparked by a tip-off it could be carrying members of Osama bin Laden's al Qaeda group.

"Joint investigation agencies have searched the ship for weapons or forged passports but have not found anything unusual," an official at Kunsan port told Reuters by telephone.

"There will be no more big investigation like yesterday's but we will keep watching the ship until they leave the country," said the port authority official, who declined to be identified.

Meanwhile New Zealand customs today said it would not reveal why the ship that visited New Zealand was subjected to top-level-security checks saying the information is "sensitive".

http://www.stuff.co.nz/stuff/0,2106,2711582a12,00.html

If the ship really was given a clean bill of health, why do they still have to keep watching it, until it leaves?


21 posted on 10/30/2003 10:06:11 PM PST by FairOpinion
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