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Foreign ship seized for alleged ties to N. Korea

Posted January. 01, 2018 07:28,   

Updated January. 01, 2018 08:04


South Korea has seized and inspected a Panama-flagged ship suspected of having ties with North Korea in violation of U.N. sanctions. The seizure was the second to be reported within just a few days after the South Korean government announced that it seized and inspected the Hong Kong-registered “Lighthouse Winmore” for allegedly transferring 600 tons of refined petroleum to a North Korean vessel. Some 10 foreign vessels suspected of contacting North Korean ships currently tracked by the government will be also revealed soon, signaling rapidly fluctuating circumstances on the Korean Peninsula over the international sanctions imposed on the North.

The 5,100-ton KOTI is being held in the western port of Pyeongtaek-Dangjin after local security and customs officials held a meeting on Dec. 21 and decided not to allow the vessel to depart from the port, the Pyeongtaek Regional Office of Oceans and Fisheries said. The related agencies are also known to have had a joint meeting to discuss the situation. The ship’s crew are mostly from China and Myanmar, and are currently being questioned by the Korea Customs Service and the National Intelligence Service.

The KOTI departed from the port of Dalian, China on Nov. 23 and arrived at the port of Pyeongtaek on Dec. 19, according to data on “FleetMon,” a website that offers vessel position tracking. This points to a possibility that the vessel was engaged in the ship-to-ship supplies of petroleum products to North Korea in early December.

Na-Ri Shin journari@donga.com