The US Department of Justice announced the entry of a judgment of forfeiture regarding the M/V Wise Honest, a 17,061-ton, single-hull bulk carrier ship registered in North Korea. The Department said that Wise Honest was used to illicitly ship coal from North Korea and to deliver heavy machinery back to the N. Korea.
The North Korean bulk carrier ‘Wise Honest’, which was detained for over five months in the port of Pago Pago, American Samoa, eventually departed under tow on Monday, bound for demolition, less than three months after the US revealed intentions to sell the seized vessel, following order by a federal court.
A Japanese Fisheries Agency patrol ship collided with a North Korean fishing vessel on the morning of Monday, October 7, which led to the sinking of the fishing vessel. A search for survivors has been established and as announced by the agency that all of the sixty individuals that were on board at the time have been safely rescued.
A Russian border patrol vessel was attacked by a North Korean vessel in the Sea of Japan, resulting to the injury of three Russian servicemen. Russia has detained two North Korean vessels that were in Russian territorial waters, according to TASS, the Russian state news outlet.
The US Marshals Service that has under custody the North Korean-owned vessel, Wise Honest, is under discussions on selling the seized vessel, as they have been ordered by a federal court. Yet, it is to be decided whether the Otto Warmbier family will receive the sale proceeds.
South Korea announced that it has released two vessels it had seized, after suspecting they were transferring oil to North Korea. South Korea determined that was no deliberate breach of UN sanctions. The shipping companies promised to have tracking devices on board ships at all times and provide records when necessary.
The Royal United Services Institute (RUSI), a UK security think tank, published a report according to which the Panama flag is involved in illegal sanction-busting in North Korea. This investigation focuses on Fan Mintian, Dong Changqing and Zhanq Qiao – three Chinese nationals who have appeared in the UN Panel of Experts investigations into North Korea’s sanctions evasion activities.
North Korea claimed that the seizure of one of its cargo ships by the US was an illegal act that violated the spirit of a summit between the two countries. For this reason it demanded the return of the ship immediately. The US accused the ship of illicit coal shipments, thus violating sanctions and was first detained by Indonesia in April 2018.
The US Department of Justice filed a civil forfeiture complaint against the North Korean-registered bulk carrier ‘M/V Wise Honest’, for illicitly ship coal from North Korea, thus violating US law and United Nations Security Council resolutions.
The North Korean-flagged tanker Saebyol, which was transmitting as a fishing boat, was spotted alongside a vessel of unknown nationality on the high seas, conducting a prohibited ship-to-ship transfer as the Royal Navy reported.
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