SAR ship among 10 facing UN ban over Korea

Local | Reuters and Amy Nip 21 Dec 2017

Reuters and Amy Nip

The United States has proposed to the United Nations Security Council the blacklisting of 10 ships, including one from Hong Kong, for transporting banned items from North Korea.

The Lighthouse Winmore, a vessel which sails under the Hong Kong flag, is an oil tanker built in 2014. "The Hong Kong SAR Government has the obligation to implement sanction measures decided by the United Nations Security Council. We will take appropriate actions against the concerned ship, taking into account the decision of the UNSC and its Committee," a Marine Department spokesman said.

According to documents seen by Reuters, the vessels are accused of "conducting illegal ship-to-ship transfers of refined petroleum products to North Korean vessels or illegally transporting North Korean coal to other countries for exports," the United States said. If none of the 15 members of the Security Council's North Korea sanctions committee objects to the proposed blacklisting by afternoon today, the proposal will be deemed approved.

Countries are required to ban blacklisted ships from entering their ports. In October, the sanctions committee cited four ships for carrying coal from North Korea.

North Korea is currently subjected to a UN arms embargo and the Security Council has banned trade in exports such as coal, textiles, seafood, iron and other minerals to choke funding for Pyongyang's missile and nuclear programs.

In September, the council put a cap of two million barrels a year on refined petroleum products exports to North Korea.

The other nine ships proposed for blacklisting are: Xin Sheng Hai (flag unknown); Togo-flagged Yu Yuan; Panama-flagged Glory Hope 1 (also known as Orient Shenyu), Kai Xiang, and Billions No 18; and North Korean-flagged Ul Ji Bong 6, Rung Ra 2, Rye Song Gang 1, and Sam Jong 2.

Reclusive North Korea has boasted of developing a missile capable of carrying a nuclear warhead and reaching the mainland United States in defiance of UN Security Council resolutions and international condemnation.

North Korea has conducted missile tests at a steady pace since April, but paused in September after firing a rocket that passed over Japan's Hokkaido island. But it renewed tests in November when it fired a new type of intercontinental ballistic missile, which flew higher and further than previous tests.

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