Two ships sailing with probable North Korean Flags Of Convenience (FOC) have been instructed to deflag in compliance with UN Security Council Resolution 2270, according to an implementation report submitted by the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan.
The report, which was submitted on September 19, detailed a possible violation of Resolution 2270 identified in June of this year.
“There was…a single situation in which it was suspected that one of the resolution’s provisions might have been violated. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in cooperation with the Ministry of Transport, addressed the matter and the case was closed,” the report said.
The two ships, identified as “Aliman” (Al Iman) and “Bassant”, were initially thought to be owned by a Jordanian company, but the report indicates that the actual owners were not of domestic origin.
The Jordanian entity involved, Coral Technical Services, has been the International Safety Manager (ISM) for the Bassant since 2010 and the Al Iman since 2011, according to the Equasis database.
The Al Iman is owned by a company based in the United Arab Emirates, while the Bassant is owned by a company in Saudi Arabia.
Both vessels have been sailing under the North Korean flag since 2009 and 2005 respectively. Both Equasis and Maritime Traffic databases identify the vessels as livestock carriers.
Equasis also says both are still operating under DPRK FOCs, while Maritime Tracker has the Al Iman sailing under the flag of Micronesia.
“A certificate confirming the deflagging of that vessel will be obtained from the relevant registration office,” the implementation report read after saying that the Al Iman has in fact been reflagged.
“The owner of the vessel Bassant, which is currently undergoing repairs in dry dock, will also do the same before returning it to operation.”
NK News calls to the owners of the vessels went unanswered.
Reflagging is a common technique used in the maritime industry to avoid strict environmental or safety practices. North Korea itself uses the practice of sailing under FOCs in order to shuffle and hide the identities of its merchant vessels.
Resolution 2270, passed unanimously in March, prohibits member states and their nationals from “obtaining authorization for a vessel to use the DPRK flag”.
“While those two vessels are unlikely to have any direct ties to North Korea, limiting the use of the DPRK’s flag will help to cut down false positives in the region,” Leo Byrne, the Data and Analytics Director at NK News, said on Wednesday.
“Jordan’s efforts, combined with those of other common FOC registries like Mongolia and Panama should make it harder for North Korea to obfuscate their vessels’ origins,” he added.
A separate provision in Resolution 2270 also makes the use of North Korean flags more undesirable for ship operators, stipulating that all cargo transiting through member state territories must be inspected if aboard, among others, a “DPRK flagged aircraft or maritime vessel”.
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Featured Image: Eilat, Iisrael by Rain Rannu on 2007-03-03 16:32:38