North Korea

US wants United Nations to blacklist 10 ships over banned North Korea cargo

Another Hong Kong-flagged cargo vessel, Ocean Skipper, was erroneously implicated in November over shipments of coal that were in fact legal

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 20 December, 2017, 3:52pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 20 December, 2017, 4:10pm

The United States has asked the UN Security Council to blacklist 10 ships for carrying banned cargo from North Korea, according to the request obtained on Tuesday.

The vessels including two Hong Kong-flagged ships and two North Korean tankers will be barred from entry into ports worldwide if the council approves the request.

A sanctions committee set a deadline of 3pm on Thursday for council members to raise objections to the proposed global port ban.

The request targets the Hong Kong-flagged oil tanker Lighthouse Winmore, the Palau-flagged oil tanker Billions No. 18, the cargo carrier Xin Sheng Hai from Belize and the Hong Kong-flagged cargo ship Kai Xiang.

Two North Korean cargo vessels, Ul Ji Bong 6 and Rung Ra 2 along with two oil tankers Sam Jong 2 and Rye Song Gang 1 are on the proposed blacklist as are the Chinese tugboat Yu Yuan and the Glory Hope 1 (also known as Orient Shenyu), a Panama-flagged cargo ship.

In October, the council slapped a global port ban on four vessels found carrying North Korean coal, seafood and iron ore, which are banned under UN council resolutions.

Another Hong Kong-flagged cargo vessel, Ocean Skipper, was erroneously implicated in reports in November after calling at the North Korean port of Rajin in January and February, loaded with tens of thousands of tonnes of Russian coal, which was then shipped to China. After making a port call in Japan, Ocean Skipper was allowed to depart without further action being taken.

Porta Shipping Limited, which owns Ocean Skipper, clarified that the shipments had been reported to the United Nations and were unrelated to the activities prohibited under the resolutions against North Korea. Both shipments were legal.

The Security Council has slapped export bans on coal, iron, lead, textiles and seafood, restricted joint ventures and blacklisted a number of North Korean companies in response to Pyongyang’s missile and nuclear tests.

It has capped oil deliveries to North Korea and the United States has asked China to cut off crude supplies altogether, a move that would deal a crippling blow to North Korea’s economy.

The sanctions are aimed at choking off revenue to Pyongyang’s military programmes and piling pressure on leader Kim Jong-un to come to the negotiating table.

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson told the council last week that North Korea must “earn its way back to the table” and vowed that the “pressure campaign must and will continue until denuclearisation is achieved.”

The blacklisting of the 10 vessels is allowed under a provision of a resolution adopted in September that bars ships from carrying goods banned from export from North Korea.