China and South Korea Crack Down on N. Korean Shipping

Musan
The North Korean vessel Musan (file image courtesy Alphabetics)

By Reuters 2016-03-08 21:04:49

China has barred a North Korean freighter from one of its ports and South Korea announced a crackdown on individuals and companies linked to Pyongyang's weapons program, stepping up sanctions against the isolated state.

North Korean general cargo ship Grand Karo arrived at Rizhao port in northeastern China a few days ago, but the port did not allow the ship to berth, said a person at the Rizhao Maritime Authority, declining to be identified because he was not authorized to speak to the media.

The ship is among 31 vessels blacklisted by China's Ministry of Transport after they were covered by harsher sanctions on North Korea that were approved by the U.N. Security Council last week.

At least two other ships on the list of barred freighters are now sailing away after being anchored off Chinese ports, ship tracking data on the Reuters Eikon terminal showed on Tuesday.

Another of the vessels has been banned from leaving port in the Philippines until safety deficiencies, found during a security and safety inspection of the vessel, are rectified.

The 6,600 dwt Grand Karo is now anchored about 19 nm from Rizhao, ship tracking data showed.

"The vessel operator will have to decide what they can do," the Rizhao maritime official said.

"If non-sanctioned North Korean ships enter the port, officials will ask senior authorities for instructions on how to deal with them," the official added.

In Seoul, the government said on Tuesday it would impose new sanctions against 40 individuals and 30 entities because of suspected links to North Korea's weapons program and would ban vessels that had stopped at North Korean ports in the past 180 days.

"We will expand financial sanctions related to North Korea, including 38 North Korean individuals and 24 entities responsible for developing weapons of mass destruction, and two individuals and six entities of third countries that have indirectly supported the North," a statement issued jointly by several ministries said.

The individuals subject to financial sanctions announced on Tuesday include a Singaporean and a Taiwan national who are heads of a shipping firm and a trading company, the government said.

South Korea also blacklisted a Thai shipping firm called Mariner's Shipping & Trading and Taiwan company Royal Team Corporation.

South Korea will ban those on the list from engaging in financial transactions with South Korean entities and freeze assets that are held in the country, the government said.