UN Security Council resolutions (UNSCRs) 2371, 2375 and 2397 on North Korea, prohibit the import and export of almost all products to and from North Korea, and Resolution UNSCR 2375 prohibits ship-to-ship transfers (STS) to and from North Korean flag vessels of any cargo that is supplied, sold or transferred to or from the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.

Panama-flagged vessels are also prohibited from loading cargo in North Korea, and are forbidden to transport cargo to and from North Korea too, as well as they are also prohibited from carrying out any STS transfers of any cargo with North Korean vessels. Ships can only unloading cargo in North Korea in circumstances approved by the UN.

The Panama Maritime Authority said:

The Panama Maritime Authority wishes to warn that North Korean vessels are altering the ship identification information, even painting the place where the North Korean flag goes, the name of the vessel, the IMO number and the port of origin, by modifying the IMO numbers, and by engaging in other deceptive practices, such as presenting a false foreign flag.

Operators who conduct business that help North Korea may be subject to sanctions. Similarly, any operator that deliberately attempts to evade sanctions and assist North Korea will be subject to sanctions.