Satellite imagery of North Korea’s Nampho port reveals what appears to be a new 50-meter pleasure craft, according to Radio Free Asia (RFA).
The boat which was first spotted by Curtis Melvin at the U.S.-Korea Institute in Washington D.C., and can be seen docked at the naval headquarters of North Korea’s West Sea fleet.
“There are no other publicly available satellite images of this ship anywhere in North Korea, so it is either new or well-hidden in previous satellite imagery. Also, the boat appears to primarily be a lake or river craft (long and short), not something adept for negotiating the open seas,” Melvin told NK News.
“No visitors have reported seeing or photographing this boat. We are under the impression that this boat was imported, at one point or another,” Melvin added, though admitted more me definite proof had so far been hard to come by.
The boat was pictured nearby a naval parade which took place down river. The event was not mentioned in North Korean media, but involved hovercrafts, submarines, gunboats and even what look to be jet-skis, leading to speculation members of North Korean leadership were in attendance.
When not in the water the pleasure craft could be housed in a part of Pyongyang’s Taesong district reserved for use by the North Korean elite. Melvin said the boat house is the only one in the area large enough to accommodate the pleasure craft.
The new boat joins a number of other pleasure craft visible on satellite imagery around the DPRK’s coasts. In 2013, an NK News investigation revealed Kim Jong Un’s $7 million yacht, originally manufactured by British company Princess.
UN sanctions prohibit the sale of pleasure craft, cars and other luxury items to North Korea, but patchy implementation often means that prohibited goods can still find their way across the DPRK’s borders.
“We have begun examining luxury river and lake watercraft from China, Russia and Europe to try and find a match for the satellite image,” Melvin said.