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UN Security Council denies international port access to four North Korean ships

Dec 29, 2017 13:41 IST
Ul Ji Bong 6: One of the four North Korean vessels banned by UNSC

The United Nations Security Council on 28 December 2017 denied international port access to four North Korean ships suspected of carrying or having transported goods banned by international sanctions targeting Pyongyang.

The ban of the four vessels -- the Ul Ji Bong 6, Rung Ra 2, Sam Jong 2 and Rye Song Gang 1 -- brings the UN's total number of blocked ships to eight. According to reports, the ban was requested by the United States along with measures targeting ships registered in other countries.

The list submitted by the US in December had also included ships from Belize, China, Hong Kong, Palau and Panama but China only agreed to target the four North Korean ships, as a part of international efforts to curb Pyongyang's missile and nuclear programs.

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Background

• In 2017, the UNSC had placed three sets of sanctions on North Korea:

- First one on 5 August, targeting the iron, coal and fishing industries.

- Second on 11 September that aimed at textiles and limiting oil supply.

- The third and most recent sanction was slapped on 22 December, focusing on refined petroleum products.

• The US has denounced trafficking of banned goods that allows North Korea to stock up, particularly the transfer of cargo between different ships on the high seas.

• The blocking of suspected vessels from ports, except in the case of humanitarian need as determined by the council's sanctions committee, is provided for in the resolution that was adopted by the UNSC in August 2017.

• On 5 October, the UN had for the first time denied international port access to four ships carrying prohibited goods. The four vessels were registered in the Comoros, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Cambodia and North Korea and were targeted for the illegal transport of coal, iron and North Korean fish.

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