Hong Kong Ship Seized After Transferring Oil To North Korea

Just days after we showed satellite images  which indicated that Chinese ships were trading oil with North Korean ships in a blatant violation of UN Security Council sanctions, South Korea said Friday that it was holding a Hong Kong flagged ship suspected of doing just that.

The Lighthouse Winmore is believed to have "secretly transferred" about 600 tons of refined petroleum products to the North Korean ship, the Sam Jong 2, in international waters in the East China Sea on Oct. 19, according to Bloomberg and the Associated Press.

The Lighthouse Winmore, a Hong Kong-flagged ship, is seen in waters off Yeosu, South Korea.

The Hong Kong vessel had previously visited Yeosu port on Oct. 11 to load up on Japanese oil products and departed the port while claiming its destination was Taiwan. Instead, it transferred the oil to the Sam Jong 2 and three other non-North Korean vessels in international waters

The vessel was chartered by Taiwanese company Billions Bunker Group, which is incorporated in the Marshall Islands. According to Bloomberg, Taiwanese investigators are looking into whether any Taiwanese nationals have ties to the ship that was seized on Friday, Taiwan’s Maritime and Port Bureau says in statement on its website.

Photos from US recon satellites released earlier this week showed at least 30 illegal transactions involving Chinese vessels selling oil to North Korea on the West Sea in October. The images allegedly showed large Chinese and North Korean ships transacting in oil in a part of the West Sea closer to China than South Korea. The satellite pictures were so clear, they even showed the names of the ships.

Satellite images

Amusingly, Beijing on Thursday said there was no illicit trade, with defense ministry spokesman Ren Guoqiang denying everything and claiming that China and its military strictly enforced the UN resolutions on North Korea.

"The situation you have mentioned absolutely does not exist," Ren said at a regular media briefing, without elaborating.

According to Chinese customs data, the country did not export any oil products to North Korea in November.

South Korean customs authorities boarded the ship and interviewed crew members after they returned to Yeosu on Nov. 24. South Korea formally seized the ship after the UN Security Council on Dec. 22 imposed new sanctions on North Korea that allow member states to seize, inspect and freeze vessels that are suspected of transferring banned goods to or from North Korea, the official said. He spoke on condition of anonymity, citing office rules.

The ship’s 25 crew members - 23 of them Chinese nationals and two from Myanmar - are being held at Yeosu but will be allowed to leave South Korea after authorities are finished investigating them, the official said. South Korea plans to report the results of its inspection to the UN Security Council’s sanctions committee.

Whether the Sam Jong 2 returned to North Korea after receiving the oil could not be confirmed.

* * *

The Treasury Department last month sanctioned six North Korean shipping and trading companies and 20 of their vessels. The North Korean ship seen accepting oil transfers in the photos released by the Treasury Department was identified as the Rye Song Gang 1.

Ship-to-ship trade with North Korea at sea is prohibited under the round of UN sanctions adopted on Sept. 11. A subsequent round of sanctions aimed at restricting the North Korean energy trade was passed earlier this month.

President Donald Trump criticized China in a tweet published last night:

China is responsible for more than 90% of North Korea’s foreign trade and oil supplies.

Comments

ConfederateH Looney Dec 29, 2017 7:59 AM Permalink

More like war crimes against North Korea.  Starving the population is prohibited by the Red Cross and the Geneva Convention.  But when did that ever stop the heebs.  After all, they firebombed civilians in 4 waves in Hamburg and Dresden and starved Germany with multiple illegal blockades enforced by a "neutral" USA.

Of course, fomenting and waging aggressive war is the worst crime of all, and Roosevelt did it to Germany and Japan.   

In reply to by Looney

Ghordius ConfederateH Dec 29, 2017 8:14 AM Permalink

+1 for the "starving the population" reminder

(and never mind that the Red Cross can't forbid anything)

the "Geneva Convention" part is a bit more complex. strictly speaking only some relatively recent amendments forbid starving your own population (you have first to even contemplate/witness such a madness) (NK did not sign/ratify them) and the US did also not sign/ratify several related to the firebombing of Dresden and similar things

here: List of International Treaties unsigned or unratified by the USA (see 1977)

In reply to by ConfederateH

earleflorida two hoots Dec 29, 2017 2:25 PM Permalink

lets look at Syria and turkey where isis was bringing oil from northern iraq and Syria.

this was going on for years under the ussa noses.

Russia knew? and China knew?

what has NK done to justify these sanctions.

the UN is a rubberstamp for the USSA and the Security Council, but for Russia and China, and yet all voted for the NK sanctions.

China and Russia are fed-up shoveling shit into the USSA's windy hypocritical rhetoric, and thus have gone along on paper (voice vote/ raise your hand children BS!) which is shit in terms of language regarding America, that doesn't keep ones words sacred since 1948!!! 

In reply to by two hoots

MozartIII Looney Dec 29, 2017 8:38 AM Permalink

But it was China that was doing it!!! The US gov saw them.

 

Will South Korea hold their own ships? Or do they get to slip past the Hong Kong ones?

 

Money to be made on the high seas! If you have the right connections!!

In reply to by Looney

Ghordius curbjob Dec 29, 2017 8:18 AM Permalink

ISIS oil piracy? which one? that of Turkey? or that of Syria? or the other three?

the first was of an ally. close your eyes

the second was between enemies (!). to which Russians closed their eyes

and so on. that's what you get when 17 factions scramble and scratch for the same turf: an unholy mess devoid of sense... on top of a war

In reply to by curbjob

rwe2late wildbad Dec 29, 2017 9:11 AM Permalink

 China's "responsible" in the same way that China is

"responsible" for what NK does,

but with even less ability to enforce anything against Taiwan.

[because the US says China is "responsible", it must be true -sarc]

 

It is great to be the judge of who is "responsible".

The US accordingly judges itself to be not "responsible" for

Afghan/CIA drugs or Saudi/terrorism or civilian/"collateral damage".

In reply to by wildbad