South Korea seizes Hong Kong ship over North Korea oil transfer

01 January, 2018, 02:07 | Author: Roderick Gutierrez
  • 12_31_North Korea

South Korea has seized and inspected a Panama-flagged ship suspected of selling oil to North Korea at sea in violation of United Nations sanctions, maritime authorities said, according to Yonhap News Agency reported.

Acting on intelligence provided by the USA - including surveillance photos of an exchange taken by satellite - South Korean customs officials boarded the vessel, the Lighthouse Winmore, when it entered Yeosu Port on November 24, Yonhap news reported.

The ship, loaded with the Japanese refined petroleum, was claimed to be heading to Taiwan.

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

The Lighthouse Winmore, which was chartered by a Taiwanese company, was impounded by South Korean customs authorities at the port of Yeosu on Nov 24 following an inspection.

After leaving port, however, the Hong Kong ship met up with the Sam Jong 2, a 2,507-ton North Korean tanker, and three other unnamed ships in worldwide waters in the East China Sea.


Results of the investigation will be reported to the UN Security Council's sanctions committee, foreign ministry officials said.

Four ships - three North Korean vessels and a Palau-flagged oil tanker - were blocked from worldwide ports by the UN Security Council on Thursday over suspicions of carrying or transporting goods banned by sanctions targeting Pyongyang's weapons ambitions, according to the final list adopted by the world body.

South Korea says it is inspecting a Panama-flagged oil tanker suspected of evading global sanctions by trading with North Korea.

China denied Friday that it was supplying oil to North Korea, USA Today reported.

But images from the US Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), released at the end of November, appear to show an attempt between North Korea and China to conduct a ship-to-ship transfer, possibly of oil, to evade sanctions.

Her remarks came after U.S. President Donald Trump, in a Twitter post Thursday, wrote, "Caught RED HANDED - very disappointed that China is allowing oil to go into North Korea".

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