NEW DELHI - Indian warships detained a North Korean cargo ship for dropping anchor in Indian waters without permission, a navy spokesman said on Sunday.

He said the ship was empty and nothing incriminating had been found in a preliminary investigation of the ship anchored off the southern coast.

Under a Security Council resolution, U.N. member states can inspect North Korean sea, air and land cargo, seize and destroy any goods transported in violation of sanctions imposed for its nuclear tests in May.

The captain of Hyang RO told authorities in Kerala that he was forced to drop anchor inside India on Friday due to an internal leak in its tanks, Indian navy spokesman Commander Roy Francis said.

The ship was bound for Pakistan from Colombo, he said.

The ship is empty and has already offloaded its cargo of urea and we have not found anything incriminating so far, Francis said.

A joint team of the coastguard, navy and the police intelligence wing were carrying out further investigations, but Francis said the ship could be allowed to proceed soon.

In August, India detained M.V. Mu San, another North Korean ship in the Andaman islands for days on suspicion that it could carry nuclear cargo, before clearing it.

North Korean sales of missiles and other weapons materials to tense or unstable parts of the world have long been a major concern of the United States and its allies, and its ships have been occasionally stopped and inspected.

The isolated Communist country, which has walked out of six-party talks aimed at reining in its nuclear weapons programme, fired a barrage of short-range missiles in May and exploded a nuclear device, resulting in expanded U.N. sanctions.
A new Security Council resolution banned all weapons exports from North Korea and most arms imports into the state.

(Reporting by Bappa Majumdar; Editing by Sanjeev Miglani)