Bao Zhiming, Caixin Online
Authorities in Mexico have been holding four Chinese ships and their crews since May as they try to end drug cartels’ involvement in iron ore sales.
Some 95 Chinese crew members are on the ships, sources with knowledge of the matter say, and they are encountering health problems related to being stuck on board for months.
Mexico started cracking down on drug cartels’ involvement in the iron ore business in March, reports The Financial Times, a British newspaper. The illegal organizations earn about US$ 15 for each ton of exported ore. One group, called the Knights Templar, smuggled some 272,000 tons of ore in 2013, about 44 percent of Mexico’s output.
Best Vision, a ship owned by Fuzhou Ocean Faith Shipping Ltd., was detained in the Pacific Ocean port of Manzanillo after customs officers examined the iron ore it had on board on May 6. Mexican customs officials said that since the ore sellers involved could not prove their product came from a legitimate source, the ship could not depart. Fuzhou Ocean Faith is based in the eastern province of Fujian. Read more….