South Korean ship detained for violating sanctions on North Korea.
The Hankyoreh has learned that a ship flying a South Korean flag has been detained in the port of Busan since October 2018 on suspicions of having delivering refined oil to North Korea through a ship-to-ship transfer, which is banned by the UN Security Council. This is the first time that a South Korean-flagged ship has been held on charges of violating sanctions against the North.
“A certain ship has been blocked from departing the port of Busan since last October because of allegations that it violated UN Security Council sanctions against North Korea,” a diplomatic source said on Apr. 2. The South Korean government has reportedly been investigating intelligence received from an ally country indicating that this ship transferred refined oil to a North Korean ship on the open seas.
Currently, the investigation into this ship has been carried out by the Korea Coast Guard, which apparently believes that the charges are true. The ship, a 7,800-ton oil tanker, is stuck at Busan’s Gamcheon Port. It’s unclear how much refined oil the ship may have given to the North Koreans.
“While faithfully implementing the UN Security Council’s sanctions resolutions against North Korea as a responsible member of the international community, the South Korean government has maintained a careful watch on how the international community is implementing those resolutions through close cooperation with friendly countries,” South Korea’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in response.
Since 2017, the South Korean government has prevented four ships suspected of violating UN Security Council resolutions from leaving ports in the country, including the Lighthouse Winmore, Koti and Talent Ace. This is the first time a South Korean-flagged ship has been detained.
When the US Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control released a list of 95 ships that are suspected of complicity in illegal ship-to-ship transfers with North Korea on Mar. 21, the list included a single ship registered in South Korea, the Lunis.