South Korea seizes second ship transferring oil to North
01 January 2018, 12:23 | Isaac Mcdaniel
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un
If accurate, the trade would not be the first time Russian oil companies have fallen afoul of sanctions, with Washington designating a large Moscow-based company in June for its involvement with designated North Korean entities, money laundering and delivering fuel products to the DPRK.
The KOTI was seized at Pyeongtaek-Dangjin port, the official said without elaborating, due to the sensitivity of the issue.
South Korea is holding a second ship on suspicion of supplying oil to North Korea in violation of worldwide sanctions meant to punish Kim Jong-un's regime for its nuclear weapons and missile programmes.
"We are closely monitoring North Korea's attempts to evade United Nations sanctions. As for the KOTI, an investigation is underway", a foreign ministry spokeswoman told CNN by telephone.
The crew of a Hong Kong-registered ship have been detained for questioning in South Korea since their tanker was impounded in November for transferring oil to a North Korean vessel and breaching United Nations sanctions, customs officials said Saturday.
The South Korean official said on Friday that the Lightouse Winmore, chartered by a Taiwanese company and carrying oil products from South Korea, had transferred part of its cargo to a North Korean ship on 19 October.
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Earlier a foreign ministry official in Seoul had said the ship had been seized briefly by customs authorities who inspected it.
President Trump lashed out at China, which he has been pressuring to exert influence over major trading partner North Korea to curb its weapons development programs, on Twitter.
Even though the Sam Jong 2 was not among the four banned vessels, it appears on a list of six other ships suspected of transporting illicit cargo, along with the Lighthouse Winmore.
The Hong Kong government said in a statement Friday it had noted media reports that the Lighthouse Winmore had been seized.
Earlier this month, the US requested the U.N. Security Council to deny access to ports worldwide to 10 ships suspected of violating trade sanctions on North Korea.
Last month, the UN Security Council voted unanimously to punish President Kim Jong Un's regime for a missile test by limiting access to refined oil and requir ing all North Koreans working overseas to return home in 24 months. It is Panamanian flagged.
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