A Hong-Kong flagged ship was held in South Korea for allegedly breaching the UN sanctions against North Korea by transferring oil to a vessel from North Korea in October. The crew members were also held, said South Korea.
A South Korean Foreign Ministry official said that the detained vessel named the Lighthouse Winmore allegedly transferred about 600 tons of refined petroleum products onto a ship belonging to North Korea on the high seas of international waters on October 19. The accused vessel had left from the South Korean port of Yeosu.
The detained ship had returned back to Yeosu on Nov. 24 after which custom authorities from South Korea questioned the crew of the vessel on the vessel itself. The ship was finally formally seized following a December 22 sanction from the United Nations that authorized the seizure, inspection and freezing of ships and other water vessels that would be suspect of transporting of barred products from and to North Korea.
The South Korean official reportedly said that after completion of investigations by authorities, the 25 crew members of the ship would be allowed to leave South Korea. The result of the investigations is being planned to be reported to the sanctions committee of the UN Security Council.
South Korean sources further said that the apprehended vessel had loaded about 14,000 tons of Japanese oil products and had claimed to be delivering them to Taiwan while it was leaving port at Yeosu.
There have been a series of unprecedented sanctions imposed by the UN Security Council on the rogue state North Korea for its continuation with the policy of developing nuclear weapons and intercontinental ballistic missiles. There have been three flight tests of intercontinental ballistic missiles by North Korea in addition to the most powerful nuclear test to date by it in recent months. These tests have raised concerns among the world population that t he country is potentially close to assembling a military might which could potentially target and bomb the United States.
According to the U.N. sanctions that were adopted on September 11 this year, there cannot be any transfer of banned goods from one ship to another at sea on international waters destined for North Korea.
There have been previous reports that a number of Chinese ships had transferred petroleum products to North Kore bound vessels at sea following which there was severe criticism made of China by the U.S. President Donald Trump. The revelations of another such transfer at sea and the disclosure by South Korea about apprehending of a vessel allegedly involved in the transfer came just hours after the Trump criticism.
China had been “Caught RED HANDED,”adding that he was “very disappointed that China is allowing oil to go into North Korea”, Trump said on Twitter.
(Adapted from CNBC.com)