South Korea seizes second ship suspected of providing oil to North Korea

The Lighthouse Winmore, a Hong Kong-flagged vessel suspected of transferring oil to North Korea in defiance of international sanctions, is seen in the sea off Yeosu
The Lighthouse Winmore, a Hong Kong-flagged vessel suspected of transferring oil to North Korea in defiance of international sanctions, is seen in the sea off Yeosu, South Korea December 29, 2017. Yonhap via REUTERS

December 31, 2017

By Yuna Park and Hyunjoo Jin

SEOUL (Reuters) – South Korean authorities have seized a Panama-flagged vessel suspected of transferring oil products to North Korea in violation of international sanctions, a customs official said on Sunday.

The seizure was the second to be revealed by South Korea within a few days, as the United Nations steps up efforts to squeeze essential oil supplies to the reclusive North following its nuclear or ballistic missile tests.

The ship, KOTI, was seized at Pyeongtaek-Dangjin port, the official told Reuters, without elaborating, due to the sensitivity of the issue. The port is on the west coast, south of Incheon.

A marine official also confirmed the seizure, which he said was done “recently”.

The KOTI’s estimated time of arrival at the port was Dec. 19, according to VesselFinder Ltd., a tracking service provider,

The ship can carry 5,100 tonnes of oil and has a crew mostly from China and Myanmar, Yonhap News Agency reported, adding that South Korea’s intelligence and customs officials are conducting a joint probe into the vessel.

A Foreign Ministry spokesman confirmed the probe, declining to provide details.

“The government has been in close consultations with related countries and ministries to thoroughly implement the sanctions by the U.N. Security Council,” the spokesman said.

PROPOSED BLACKLISTING

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

The U.N. Security Council last month 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 United States has also proposed that the United Nations Security Council blacklist 10 ships for transporting banned items from North Korea, according to documents seen by Reuters on Tuesday.

The Lighthouse Winmore is one of the 10 ships proposed to be blacklisted. The KOTI does not seem to be included on the list.

On Thursday, China blocked a U.S. effort at the United Nations to blacklist six foreign-flagged ships, a U.N. Security Council diplomat said.

China’s Foreign Ministry, responding to a question from Reuters on the blocking, said Beijing always fully and strictly implemented Security Council resolutions.

“At the same time, any measures taken by the Security Council must have a basis in conclusive and actual proof. China will continue to participate in the work of the relevant Security Council sanctions committee on this principle,” it said in a short statement, without elaborating.

China also denied reports it had been illicitly selling oil products to North Korea in defiance of U.N. sanctions, after U.S. President 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 U.N. sanctions, sources told Reuters.

(Reporting by Yuna Park and Hyunjoo Jin; Additional reporting by Hyonhee Shin in SEOUL and Ben Blanchard in BEIJING; Editing by Kim Coghill and Richard Borsuk)

  • All American

    Check mate!

  • Nathan Pinnhead

    Actually, it’s Trump’s buddy, Putin, that is sending oil to NK.

  • Theo Stall

    May be time for a JFK/Cuba style Blockade.

    • Bill Jr

      And Give Our ICBM’s (From Somewhere) To North Korea In Exchange?
      Not Well Thought Out. Maybe Send Kim Some Building Blocks Until he Learns To Play-Well With Others. As Long As They Are Made of C-4.

  • Javanne

    South Korea shouldn’t simply blacklist the ships. They should sieze and confiscate them. Let the shipowners eat the loss. Oh yes, I’m sure they could make good use of the free oil thus provided.

  • landy fincannon

    Have sanctions ever worked?

    The UN loves to bluster and not much more unless the US leads.

    • Javanne

      Which we have been doing under Trump. As for sanctions, they work only if they are airtight (remember Iran coming to the table; of course they knew Obama would bail them out), and these obviously are not. Time for the next, and final step.

  • ja ko

    UN is almost completely useless organization, serving needs of NWO globalists and filling pockets of its totally corrupt officials and massively overpaid employees.

    • JustmJustm

      Of course if they won’t be or get overpaid they won’t be and can’t be corrupt…….

  • Racer X

    The communist Chinese are not our friends. They care money and power. That’s it.

    • littlepeaks

      Unfortunately, they own so much of our U.S. debt, that they could take over the U.S. at any time, without firing a shot, buy calling in the payments. Everyone have a happy new year!!!

      • CCTexas

        Let them call in the debt. Then, come on over here and try to collect.

      • All American

        Maybe we need to significantly decrease Chinese imports

        • JustmJustm

          It could work ,but I think we are way to far down on this road that nobody really want to turn around on! The world is litterally

          feeding a beast! The only thing that could stopped them is a financial collapse bankruptcy and a series of financial miss calculations by its regime! And that is very very possible.

    • NotSure

      I thought thats all any communist cares about. That is why it always seems to end in ruins. It is so sad that their teaching our yutes of today that communism is good. Nothing has ever came good from it.

    • JustmJustm

      Er moe like world domination…….

  • GREGGM

    China and Russia use the U.N. as a tool to cover their covert ops. Time to throw them out or we leave.

    • CCTexas

      Prefer we leave. Even if China and Russia left, we would still have to put up with those EU countries. A pox on all of them.

    • All American

      I have a better idea “we just leave”

    • JustmJustm

      It won’t happen, they are the FOUNDING CORE MEMBERS!!

  • Derek Dominico

    Good Job South Korea ! Have not heard much from the UN ! Unlike when Pres Trump went for Jerusalem as capital of Israel !

    • JustmJustm

      See what is happening in Iran????? I think that cooperation /Us-Israel/ is not just working but it has been on going for some time. And an instigated revolution in Iran would be invite let.
      The Shahs kinds/ children of the king of Iran/ are live in Ny as far as I know!!!
      And they could be tapped as to take over,if it becomes nessessery….