December 05, 2023

North Korea may be preparing to illegally export sand, satellite imagery shows

The United Nations banned North Korea from exporting “earth and stone” products since 2017

A cluster of ships perhaps related to an upcoming sand-dredging operation have departed a gathering point near Nampho’s West Barrage, according to satellite imagery analyzed by NK News. This means that North Korea could be restarting an illegal operation as it struggles with foreign currency income amid the COVID-19 global pandemic.

The cluster, which did not seem to be transmitting Automatic Identification System signals, remained in the area from the end of May to mid-August. The most recent available imagery from Aug. 23 showed that only a few vessels remained.