The United Nations 1718 Committee recently added four North Korea-linked vessels to its list of designated ships, according to a newly added notice on the UN body’s website.
The updated blacklist comes following two new UN resolutions which further tightened existing maritime sanctions against North Korea.
“(Resolution 2371) decides that the Committee may designate vessels for which it has information indicating they are, or have been, related to activities prohibited by resolutions 1718 (2006), 1874 (2009), 2087 (2013), 2094 (2013), 2270 (2016), 2321 (2016), 2356 (2017) or this resolution,” paragraph 6 reads.
A later resolution passed in September strengthened the measures, while also giving member states additional power to inspect suspicious North Korean vessels.
The new designations include the Jie Shun, a vessel seized by the Egyptian Government in August last year for attempting to smuggle rocket-propelled grenades.
Although the UN did not provide additional details on why the other three ships – called the Petrel 8, Hao Fan 6 and Tong San 2 – were blacklisted, all three appear to be bulk carriers, ships designed to carry loose cargoes like coal or iron.
UN resolutions also prohibit member states from importing numerous DPRK metals and minerals, indicating the ships may have been involved in sanctioned trades.
According to the NK Pro vessel tracker, the Hao Fan 6 has made regular trips to the Russian Far East in recent months.
A recent report from U.S. intelligence indicated that North Korea affiliated ships may have been using Russian ports in the area to move DPRK coal to China, in breach of UN resolutions.
Only one of the vessels – the Tong San 2 – is sailing with a North Korean flag, but the Petrel 8, Hao Fan 6 and Jie Shun are using flags from other nations, a practice known as using a flag of convenience (FOC) in the maritime industry.
While the technique is not illegal, the DPRK often uses FOCs to hide its links to numerous vessels, which can then use foreign ports and waterways with less scrutiny.
North Korea also combines FOCs with networks of paper companies in Hong Kong and mainland China, typically owned or managed by trusted Chinese nationals.
The blacklisting means the vessels will no longer be able to enter foreign ports without being seized. They join 22 other DPRK-linked ships that were designated last year, and which have generally kept a low profile since.
The majority of the designated vessels were linked to Ocean Maritime Management (OMM), a North Korean weapon smuggler working under the auspices of the Ministry of Land and Marine Transport.
But according to the UN Panel of Experts (PoE), North Korea has attempted to circumvent the blacklist by falsifying some of the vessels’ documentation, renaming them and stripping them of their International Maritime Organization (IMO) numbers.
The 2017 PoE report said one of OMM’s vessels may have been able to use ports in Russia, even though sailing without an IMO number is against maritime laws.
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Featured Image: IMG_3422 by nknews_hq on 2016-06-15 05:39:33