In a recent statement to reporters, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said that this latest move targets "virtually all the ships they’re using at this moment in time."

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.

This latest action was part of the ongoing maximum economic pressure campaign to cut off sources of revenue that the country derives from UN and US to fund its nuclear and ballistic missile programs.

According to Mr. Mnuchin, the US has now imposed more than 450 sanctions against North Korea, about half of them in the last year.

Sanctions against North Korea have been imposed by a number of countries over the last decade, and are mainly concerned with the country's nuclear weapons program since 2006.

The UN Security Council Resolutions 2371 and 2375, which have unanimously passed in August and September 2017, expand the scope of the existing sanctions against North Korea, imposed under UNSCR 2270 and 2321 (2016).

Resolution 2371, passed in August 2017, banned all exports of coal, iron, lead, and seafood, imposing also new restrictions on North Korea’s Foreign Trade Bank and prohibiting any increase in the number of North Koreans working in foreign countries.

Resolution 2375, passed on 11 September 2017, limited the country's crude oil and petroleum imports, banned joint ventures, textile exports, natural gas condensate and liquid imports, and banned North Korean nationals from working abroad in other countries.