GTS Katie finally arrives

A US. ship seized by the Canadian military arrived unceremoniously in Becancour on Thursday, behind schedule and a couple of tugboats.

Workers began removing explosives from the GTS Katie, which is carrying $223 million worth of military equipment used in Kosovo.

It's expected to travel the last 150 kilometres to Montreal Friday, where hundreds of tanks and other army vehicles will then be unloaded.

Rough ride

The ship had a series of misadventures on its 50-day voyage, circling in the North Atlantic for several weeks because of a dispute over payment.

Canadian troops from two warships eventually moved in and took control on Aug. 3, airlifted by a Sea King helicopter that hovered over the cargo vessel.

But then the vessel ran dangerously low of fuel, and some crew members fought with military personnel over navigation down the St. Lawrence River.

The Katie had been hired to return the military equipment, including 580 army vehicles and 390 sea containers with munitions, to Canada following a tour of duty in Kosovo.

Third Ocean Marine Navigation Co., the American owner of the 36,000-tonne cargo ship, kept the Katie in international waters off Newfoundland for two weeks after claiming it is owed about $190,000 by charter company Andromeda Navigation of Montreal.

Canadian Forces slammed

Peter Margan, president of Third Ocean Marine, has repeatedly argued that the Canadian Forces had "no right to do what they did" because the cargo dispute had been settled hours before the ship was seized.

But the minister of national defence said the three companies fighting over finances had been given ample warning. He said they missed a deadline to submit a signed, written agreement by several hours.

Margan had predicted Canada will keep control of the Katie until the matter is settled in international court.