U.S. Proposes Ban on 10 Ships for North Korean Trade

Surveillance image of a vessel suspected of circumventing UN sanctions, Nampo, North Korea, June 16 (U.S. State Dept.)

By The Maritime Executive 12-19-2017 10:07:28

The United States has asked the U.N. Security Council to expand the list of merchant ships banned for trading with North Korea in violation of international sanctions.

The proposal would add ten vessels to a list of four ships that the council banned from all ports in October. These four vessels – the Jie Shun, Tong San 2, Hao Fan 6 and Petrel 8 – were blacklisted on suspicion of involvement in carriage of prohibited goods. Reports indicate that most of these four vessels were accused of carrying North Korean coal cargoes; under the U.N. sanctions regime, trade in key North Korean commodities including textiles, minerals and seafood is prohibited. The Jie Shun was also accused of engaging in gun-running: Earlier this year, Egyptian port state control authorities discovered 30,000 rocket-propelled grenades stowed beneath a cargo of iron ore in her holds. 

In addition to these four ships, last year the U.N. Security Council blacklisted 31 North Korean vessels under a different sanctions resolution, then de-listed five after objections from China. 

Reuters reports that the ships on the new proposed blacklist are: Chinese product tanker Lighthouse Winmore; Taiwanese product tanker Billions No. 18; Hong Kong-owned freighter Xin Sheng Hai; freighter Kai Xiang (one of two vessels bearing this name); Hong Kong-owned freighter Yu Yuan; Chinese bulker Orient Shenyu; North Korean freighters Ul Ji Bong 6 and Rung Ra 2; and North Korean product tankers Rye Song Gang 1 and Sam Jong 2.

Unlike earlier bans, half of the vessels included in the new American list are controlled by entities based outside of North Korea, including several commercial shipping firms with modestly-sized fleets.