A North Korean-flagged tanker Rye Song Gang 1 was spotted by Japanese maritime patrol plane in a suspected illegal transfer of goods with a Dominican-flagged tanker Yuk Tung, the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs informed.
The two ships were seen anchored alongside each other on January 20 in the East China Sea and “suspicious activity” was taking place, most probably transfer of goods, i.e. fuel, the ministry added.
The transfer is said to have been carried out in during the night. The two vessels reportedly parted ways once the sun started rising.
The Korean ship is said to have been “camouflaged” as its name was repainted with a new name Song Hae.
The ministry has informed the UN of the incident.
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.
Sanctions have been imposed on the country’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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