In general, the vessel was seized because it was allegedly violating international sanctions, a first-of-its kind enforcement action that comes amid a tense moment in relations between the two countries. The vessel was detained in April 2018 as it travelled toward Indonesia and is in the process of being moved to American Samoa, Justice Department officials said.

Now, the Marshals are looking for a disposal plan, considering the vessel's age, condition and location of the vessel.


The decision of the court follows the claim by the parents of Otto Warmbier, an American student who died after returning to the US from detention in North Korea. Specifically, Otto Warmbier was a student at the University of Virginia. He visited North Korea on a guided tour in January 2016. North Korea accused him of attempting to steal a propaganda poster, and sentenced him to 15 years of hard labor in March 2016. He died shortly after returning to the U.S. in a vegetative state in June 2017.

In light of this, some of the proceeds vessel's sail will go to the Warmbier family.