Panamanian vessel probed over suspected oil supplies to N. Korea

01 January, 2018, 03:38 | Author: Chad Mckenzie
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Four ships - three North Korean vessels and a Palau-flagged oil tanker - were blocked from worldwide ports by the UN Security Council on Thursday on suspicion of carrying or transporting goods banned by the sanctions.

South Korean authorities seized a second oil tanker for allegedly supplying fuels to North Korea at sea, the South's media reported on Sunday.

The ship which is being held at a port near the western city of Pyeongtaek an it is the second vessel seized by South Korea on suspicion of supplying oil to North Korea.

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Earlier this month, the USA requested the U.N. Security Council to deny access to ports worldwide to 10 ships suspected of violating trade sanctions on North Korea.

"The government has been in close consultations with related countries and ministries to thoroughly implement the sanctions by the UN Security Council", the spokesman said.

The statement did not address whether or not Russian ships had transferred the fuel. It is unclear when exactly KOTI was seized, but customs officials decided on December 21 to deny the ship permission to leave the port, a local maritime official told South Korean news agency Yonhap.

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About 24-hours ago, South Korea impounded a Hong Kong-registered ship it suspects of secretly transferring 600 tonnes of refined oil to a North Korean vessel. On the same day, a Chinese vessel was seen transferring oil to North Korea's Rye Song Gang 1 ship in U.S. Treasury Department's satellite images first published in the South Korean newspaper The Chosun Ilbo earlier this week, one of 30 such instances reported in three months. "We are liaising with the Korean parties concerned to obtain further information about the incident, and will take appropriate actions as necessary", the statement said.

It did say resolutions by the United Nations Security Council have imposed limits on North Korea's refined oil imports but have not banned them altogether. The KOTI does not appear to be on the list. It is Panamanian flagged.

The KOTI's ties to China also seem clear, the tanker is run by companies operating out of Hong Kong and Dalian, two well-known hubs for North Korean sanctions evasion.

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