Banned N. Korean Vessel Enters Japanese Port
AIS tracking data shows the North Korean vessel Ryong Rim docked at the small port of Tsukumi, Kyushu, Japan on Friday – and her AIS transmitter has been off since, with no data to indicate departure. She is on the U.N. Security Council's March 2 list of blacklisted North Korean merchant ships, and Japan has instituted unilateral sanctions banning all of the "hermit kingdom's" shipping as a penalty for a recent nuclear test.
The 1982-built Ryong Rim (ex name Jon Jin 2) is operated by Haejin Ship Management of Pyongyang; Equasis shows her trading throughout the Pacific Basin and through the Panama Canal over the past year.
Hiroyuki Mase of Japan's diplomatic mission to the UN told media that the government was aware of the report, and that there was no evidence that the ship had docked at Tsukumi. Her final AIS position shows her adjacent to a pier at an industrial facility, making 0.0 knots.
AIS data have previously showed banned North Korean vessels trading at foreign ports. The Ocean Maritime Management general cargo vessel O Rang called at a coal terminal at the Russian port of Vostochnyy in March and was not detained; Russian authorities did not respond to requests for comment. The Philippines detained the banned vessel Jin Teng the same month and deported her crew; under pressure from China, the Security Council later removed the Jin Teng from the black list and won her release.
North Korea has engaged in multiple recent weapons tests that have given foreign governments cause for concern. The nuclear test earlier this year was the nation's fourth since 2006, despite years of sanctions and international pressure; it also recently launched a long-range rocket test which observers say may be part of a ballistic missile development program.