Sanctioned North Korean Shipping Company Still Operating

By MarEx 2014-09-13 04:48:00

The North Korean shipping company Ocean Maritime Management Company (OMM) implicated in an attempt to illicitly smuggle weapons through the Panama Canal appears to be operating normally in Chinese waters, according to an NK News analysis of shipping data.

Ten out of 14 of the company’s ships have broadcast location data since June seemingly indicating they are still operating in Chinese ports despite UN resolution 2094, which means member states such as China should freeze the company’s assets and apply enhanced monitoring to their activities. NK News claims that analysis of records indicates that the frequency of inspections has not increased for OMM ships.

The news service claims that ships currently operating in China include the Chong Chon Gang which was caught moving Soviet munitions from Cuba in July 2013.

Although the vessels have broadcast some positional data in the six weeks since the U.S. and UN sanctions, the amount of AIS information transmitted overall appears to have diminished. Some OMM vessels have reportedly switched off their AIS transmitters for periods of time, and this practice has increased in frequency over the last two weeks, says NK News. 

Additionally, OMM appears to be renaming and re-assigning vessels to different owners or managers. This has historically been a successful tactic for North Korea to sidestep blacklists as it transfers ownership and management duties to an non-sanctioned front company, says NK News.