North Korean Ship in Third Suspicious Transfer of Goods

North Korean-flagged tanker Rye Song Gang 1 was spotted by Japanese maritime patrol plane in yet another suspected illegal transfer of goods, a third one over the past few months.

The Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs said on Wednesday that the North Korean ship was seen anchored alongside Belize-flagged Wang Heng No. 11 on February 13, some 250 kilometers east of Shanghai, East China Sea.

The nighttime operation between the two ships is suspected of involving a transfer of goods at sea in violation of international sanctions.

Rye Song Gang 1 was blacklisted by the Trump Administration in November 2017 together with 19 other North Korean-flagged ships for engaging in illegal ship-to-ship transfers in an effort to evade sanctions.

However, just last month the tanker was caught in a dubious ship-to-ship transfer with the Dominican-flagged tanker Yuk Tung.

Sanctions have been imposed on North Korea’s shipping industry, trade, ports, and manufacturing, as part of an economic pressure aimed at cutting off sources of revenue that would support the development of North Korea’s nuclear program.  

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