A sanctioned North Korean vessel stopped broadcasting its unique identifier numbers in order to circumvent UN sanctions, according to a recently released report from the UN Panel of Experts (PoE).
The ship is one of eight formerly associated with Ocean Maritime Management (OMM) – a designated DPRK weapons smuggler – to have changed names, the report claims.
But the Song Phyong 7 (formerly the Hui Chon) went a step further, failing to broadcast its unique International Maritime Organization (IMO) number while visiting a Russian port.
“One of the above cases involved the Song Phyong 7, which omitted its obligatory IMO number when transmitting its Automatic Identification System data from 13 November 2016, violating shipping regulations,” the PoE report reads.
The designated ship was inspected twice in five days while visiting Nakhodka Port in the Russian far east, port state control (PSC) inspection records show. The first inspection resulted in a detention as it did not have the required documentation and certificates.
“There was no mandatory Continuous Synopsis Record describing the vessel’s history, nor were there any IMO numbers on the vessel’s certificates or in a visible place on the ship’s hull, superstructure or the interior, as required by the IMO,” the report adds.
But after its detention, the vessel was released and sailed back towards North Korea. Data from vessel tracking site Marine Traffic shows the sanctioned ship’s last broadcast on November 23, shortly after its release.
The PoE report concludes the Song Phyong 7’s obfuscation of its IMO was a deliberate attempt to avoid being seized as required by Resolution 2270 passed in March last year. Member states are required to freeze economic assets related to the North’s weapons programs.
“(The resolution) affirms that ‘economic resources,’ as referred to in paragraph 8 (d) of resolution 1718 (2006), includes assets of every kind … which potentially may be used to obtain funds, goods, or services, such as vessels (including maritime vessels),” it reads.
The panel of expert’s report additionally notes that seven other former OMM vessels have changed their names, though there is no evidence they have attempted to use foreign ports.
The new names have yet to filter through to some maritime databases, though some vessel tracking services are registering the changes.
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Featured Image: Work Boat by Damian Gadal on 2017-03-06 09:35:44