Specifically, the report found that Fan and Dong worked as surveyors for the 'Panama Maritime Documentation Services' (PMDS) organisation, authorised by Panama, and provided various certificates t North Korean-linked vessels.
In addition, the report resulted to the fact that Chinese nationals with close links to North Korea’s illicit shipping networks have acted as surveyors for vessels registered under the Panamanian flag, and possibly the Mongolian flag, thereby potentially providing an avenue for North Korean-linked vessels to obtain flags of convenience and other maritime services prohibited under UN Security Council resolutions.
Also, PMDS was found to share an address and other contact details in Dalian, a city located near the North Korean border, with Fan and Dong’s companies, as well as another surveyor authorised by Mongolia called International Maritime Survey Association (IMSA), established by Zhang Qiao.
Moreover, a number of Chinese nationals with extensive links to North Korea’s illicit shipping fleet have acted as vessel surveyors for Recognized Organizations such as Panama Maritime Documentation Services and even operated their own classification agency named the International Marine Survey Association.
The report highlights that
Several links between these entities and individuals such as shared emails, phone numbers and addresses also suggest that Fan, Dong, Zhang and the companies and organisations they operate are much more closely connected than may at first appear on the surface.
In conclusion, James Byrne, the report's researcher, resulted to the fact that Fan’s, Dong’s and Zhang’s employment with, and operation of, Recognized Organizations and Classification Societies may therefore help explain how some North Korean-linked vessels have been able to avoid scrutiny and continue operation as foreign-flagged vessels.
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