Yemen began unloading Saturday the shipment of North Korean missiles that was seized by Spanish and U.S. warships in the Arabian Sea, a port authority official said.

Five Scud missiles have been unloaded, the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

The Al-Hudaydah port on the Red Sea, about 90 miles southwest of the capital, San'a, was closed to the media and ringed by security forces.

Senior military officers were present as the ship arrived. Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh arrived at al-Hudaydah earlier Saturday. His motorcade passed close to the port.

The ship, the Singapore-registered Pan Hope, was intercepted Monday by a Spanish warship. Spanish marines boarded the ship and found 15 Scud missiles and other military equipment under a cargo of cement.

The U.S. Navy took charge of the ship, but allowed it to sail on after receiving assurances the Scuds would not be transferred elsewhere in the Gulf region.

The interception caused a diplomatic tiff between the United States and North Korea, which accused Washington of piracy. It also caused embarrassment to Yemen, which had initially denied having anything to do with the missiles.

The ship arrived in Yemen on Friday, refueling in the eastern port of al-Mukalla before steaming on to al-Hudaydah.

Washington said Yemen has promised not buy any more missiles from North Korea, which America regards as a nuclear proliferator. Yemen says the deal with North Korea was sealed before it agreed not to buy missiles from the communist country.