US Sanctions 28 More Ships Linked to North Korea’s Sanction Evasion

The United States has imposed a new wave of sanctions against North Korea’s regime targeting the country’s shipping sector, which has been linked to several sanction evasion schemes.

Twenty-eight ships are being blacklisted in addition to 27 entities, and one individual, the U.S. Treasury Department said on Friday, February 23.

“Today’s actions will significantly hinder North Korea’s ability to conduct evasive maritime activities that facilitate illicit coal and fuel transports, and limit the regime’s ability to ship goods through international waters,” U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said.

“Our actions are part of the ongoing maximum economic pressure campaign to cut off sources of revenue that this regime derives from U.N. and U.S. prohibitive trade to fund its nuclear and ballistic missile programs.”

The Treasury Department also stressed that a global shipping advisory is being issued, in conjunction with the Coast Guard and the State Department, to inform of North Korea’s “illicit maritime tactics and underscore the significant sanctions risk of engaging in maritime business with North Korea.”

Mnuchin added that new images were being released that reveal ship-to-ship transfers of fuel and other products destined for North Korea being carried out in December 2017 in an attempt to evade sanctions.

The move comes in the wake of several reports of North Korean ships being involved in suspicious ship-to-ship transfers.

The most recent instance was reported by the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs in mid-February when North Korean-flagged tanker Rye Song Gang 1 was spotted by Japanese maritime patrol plane in a third suspected illegal transfer of goods over the recent few months.

Rye Song Gang 1 was blacklisted by the Trump Administration in November 2017 together with 19 other North Korean-flagged ships for engaging in ship-to-ship transfers in an effort to evade sanctions.

Sanctions have been imposed on North Korea’s shipping industry, trade, ports, and manufacturing, as part of an economic pressure aimed at cutting off sources of revenue that would support the development of North Korea’s nuclear program.

World Maritime News Staff