Mon, Jan 01, 2018 - Page 1 News List

Seoul seizes second ship for violating sanctions

Reuters, SEOUL

South Korean authorities have seized a Panama-flagged vessel suspected of transferring oil products to North Korea in violation of international sanctions, a customs official said yesterday.

The seizure was the second to be revealed by South Korea within a few days, as the UN steps up efforts to squeeze essential oil supplies to the reclusive North following its nuclear and ballistic missile tests.

The ship, KOTI, was seized at Pyeongtaek-Dangjin port, the official told reporters without elaborating due to the sensitivity of the issue.

The port is on the west coast, south of Incheon.

A marine official also confirmed the seizure, which he said was done “recently.”

The KOTI’s estimated time of arrival at the port was Dec. 19, according to VesselFinder Ltd, a tracking service provider.

The ship can carry 5,100 tonnes of oil and has a crew mostly from China and Myanmar, Yonhap News Agency reported, adding that South Korea’s intelligence and customs officials are conducting a joint probe into the vessel.

A South Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman confirmed the probe, declining to provide details.

“The government has been in close consultations with related countries and ministries to thoroughly implement the sanctions by the UN Security Council,” the spokesman said.

On Friday, South Korea said that in late November it seized the Hong Kong-flagged Lighthouse Winmore, which is suspected of transferring as much as 600 tonnes of oil to the North Korea-flagged Sam Jong 2.

The UN Security Council last month unanimously imposed new sanctions on North Korea for an intercontinental ballistic missile test, seeking to limit its access to refined petroleum products and crude oil.

The US has also proposed that the UN Security Council blacklist 10 ships for transporting banned items from North Korea, according to documents seen by reporters on Tuesday last week.

The Lighthouse Winmore is one of the 10 ships proposed to be blacklisted.

The KOTI does not seem to be included on the list.

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