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U.S. Blacklists Russian Ships, Owners for Trading with North Korea

The U.S. has sanctioned six ships and two Russian shipping companies, Primorye and Gudzon, for engaging in ship-to-ship transfers with North Korean-flagged ships, opposing international sanctions against Pyongyang.

The U.S. Treasury Office said the measure targets persons involved in the ship-to-ship transfer of refined petroleum products with North Korea-flagged vessels, an activity expressly prohibited by the UN Security Council (UNSC).

“Ship-to-ship transfers with North Korea-flagged vessels from Russia or elsewhere of any goods being supplied, sold, or transferred to or from the DPRK are prohibited under the UN Security Council resolutions on North Korea and are sanctionable under U.S. law,” said Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.

“Consequences for violating these sanctions will remain in place until we have achieved the final, fully verified denuclearization of North Korea.”

Based on the Treasury’s data, in early 2018, the Russian ship Patriot conducted two ship-to-ship transfers of oil for the benefit of North Korea, including 1,500 tons of oil to the North Korea-flagged M/V Chong Rim 2 and 2,000 tons of oil to the North Korea-flagged M/V Chon Ma San. The ultimate buyer was UN- and U.S.-designated Taesong Bank, a North Korean entity.

Both North Korean ships had been blacklisted by the U.S. and U.N. for their previous involvement in prohibited ship-to-ship transfers.

In addition, Russian-flagged ships, in which Gudzon has an interest, namely: Neptun, Bella, Bogatyr, Partizan and Sevastopol have also been designated by the U.S.

In April, the United Nations’ Security Council added 27 ships to its blacklist as part of its clamp down on North Korea over its nuclear program.

The sanctions included one individual and 22 companies which have been involved in trading of coal, refined petroleum and oil with North Korean counterparts, which had been declared illegal.