South Korea seizes second ship suspected of smuggling oil to North

  01 January 2018    Read: 1413
South Korea seizes second ship suspected of smuggling oil to North
South Korean authorities have seized a second vessel suspected of transferring oil products to North Korea in violation of international sanctions.
The Panama-flagged tanker, KOTI, was seized at Pyeongtaek-Dangjin port, on the west coast, a South Korean customs official said. A marine official said the seizure had happened recently.

The KOTI’s estimated arrival at the port was 19 December, according to VesselFinder, a tracking service. The Yonhap news agency reported that the ship could carry 5,100 tonnes of oil and had a crew mostly from China and Myanmar.

Yonhap said South Korea’s intelligence and customs officials were conducting a joint investigation into the vessel. A foreign ministry spokesman confirmed that an investigation was under way.

“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.

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

Last month the UN security council unanimously imposed new sanctions on North Korea for a recent intercontinental ballistic missile test, seeking to limit its access to refined petroleum products and crude oil.

The US has proposed that the security council blacklist 10 ships for transporting banned items from North Korea, according to documents seen by Reuters on Tuesday.

China has denied reports it was illicitly selling oil products to North Korea in defiance of UN sanctions, after Donald Trump said he was unhappy that China had allowed oil to reach the isolated nation.

Russian tankers have supplied fuel to North Korea on at least three occasions in recent months by transferring cargoes at sea, breaching UN sanctions, sources have told Reuters.

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