Following a request from the United States, the United Nations Security Council has added four more North Korean ships to the list of vessels that have been blacklisted in connection with sanctions on Pyongyang’s nuclear program. The United States delayed a motion to put an additional set of vessels on the blacklist until after the council has more information.
The vessels now banned from all ports administered by U.N. member states include:
- Jie Shun, a Cambodian-flagged freighter
- Tong San 2, a North Korean-flagged freighter
- Hao Fan 6, a St. Kitts and Nevis-flagged bulker
- Petrel 8, a Comoros-flagged bulker
The blacklisting is related to the carriage of prohibited goods: Egyptian authorities accused the Jie Shun of gun-running after they found 30,000 rocket-propelled grenades concealed under a cargo of iron ore in her holds – an unusually large military consignment. The other vessels also allegedly engaged in carrying prohibited items, but the specifics have not been released.
According to Hugh Griffiths, who heads the U.N. committee for implementation of the North Korea sanctions regime, the blacklist is the first time "in U.N. history" that any of Pyongyang's vessels have been banned from every U.N. member state seaport. While the measure is historic, member states do not always comply with U.N. sanctions resolutions – notably Russia and China, which both have an active trade relationship with North Korea. However, in a sign that China’s attitude towards the North may be changing, its representatives to the U.N. Security Council agreed to the measure to blacklist the freighters – even though three of the vessels are Chinese-owned.
The vessels that the U.S. initially proposed to add to the sanctions list but ultimately left out were:
- Jia Feng (ex name Cheng Hong), a Palau-flagged bulker
- Kai Xiang, a Panama-flagged bulker
- East Glory (or East Glory 7), a Palau-flagged freighter
- Xin Sheng Hai, a Belize-flagged freighter
- Toyo Maru, a Palau-flagged freighter (formerly flagged in Fiji)
Last year, the U.N. Security Council blacklisted 31 North Korean ships under a different sanctions resolution, then de-listed five. The latest additions bring the number back up towards the original total.