Trump Administration Sanctions 20 North Korean Ships

In a latest wave of measures aimed at disrupting North Korea’s “illicit funding of its unlawful nuclear and ballistic missile programs”, the United States has imposed sanctions on 20 vessels, the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) said on Tuesday.

The sanctions also target third-country persons with long-standing commercial ties to North Korea, as well as the transportation networks that facilitate North Korea’s revenue generation and operations, the statement from the Treasury said.

Specifically, OFAC designated six North Korean shipping and trading companies and blocked 20 of their vessels, all of which are DPRK-flagged.

These include:

  • Korea Rungrado Shipping Company and its vessels Pu Hung 1, Rung Ra Do, and Yang Gak Do;
  • Korea Rungrado Ryongak Trading and its vessels Rung Ra 1 and Rung Ra 2;
  • Yusong Shipping Company and its vessels Won San 2, Za Ryok 2, 7-28, Yu Song 12, and Yu Song 7;
  • Dawn Marine Management Co. Ltd and its vessels Jang Gyong, Kum Song 3, Kum Song 5, Kum Song 7, and Kum Un San 3;
  • Korea Daebong Shipping Company and its vessel Rak Rang; and
  • Korea Kumbyol Trading Company and its vessels Kang Song 1, Ku Bong Ryong, So Baek San, and Rye SONG Gang 1.

As disclosed by OFAC, North Korea is known to employ deceptive shipping practices, including ship-to-ship transfers, a practice prohibited by United Nations Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 2375 of September 11, 2017.

The Treasury Office released images, which are said to be taken on October 19, 2017, depicting a reported recent attempt by Korea Kumbyol Trading Company’s vessel Rye Song Gang 1 to conduct a ship-to-ship transfer, possibly of oil, in an effort to evade sanctions.

“These designations include companies that have engaged in trade with North Korea cumulatively worth hundreds of millions of dollars. We are also sanctioning the shipping and transportation companies, and their vessels, that facilitate North Korea’s trade and its deceptive maneuvers,” Treasury Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin said.

As part of the sanctions, Chinese trading companies Dandong Kehua Economy & Trade Co., Ltd., Dandong Xianghe Trading Co., Ltd., and Dandong Hongda Trade Co. Ltd. were designated for exporting around USD 650 million worth of goods to North Korea. Sun Sidong and his company, Dandong Dongyuan Industrial Co were also sanctioned as well as Korea South-South Cooperation Corporation for the exportation of workers from North Korea.

The latest sanctions come on the heels of the global port ban imposed by the United Nations Security Council on four ships due to their violation of sanctions against North Korea.

The said ships are Petrel 8, Hao Fan 6, Tong San 2 and Jie Shun, which have been designated pursuant to paragraph 6 of the Resolution 2375.