The Seoul government announced Friday it is investigating a Hong Kong-flagged ship named the Lighthouse Winmore for allegedly transferring oil to a North Korean vessel in worldwide waters on October 19.
South Korea has seized and inspected a Panama-flagged ship suspected of selling oil to North Korea at sea in violation of United Nations sanctions, maritime authorities said, according to Yonhap News Agency reported.
The crews of both the impounded vessels are mostly Chinese, raising suspicions that China - North Korea's largest trading partner - may be supplying the fuel, or failing to do enough to prevent its sale.
The resolution adopted by the council included sharply lower limits on North Korea's refined oil imports, the return home of all North Koreans working overseas within 24 months, and a crackdown on ships smuggling banned items including coal and oil to and from the country.
The South Korean Foreign Ministry said the vessel departed the port of Yeosu in South Korea on October 19 carrying refined oil that was then transferred to a North Korean ship in worldwide waters.
On Thursday, Chinese officials were forced to deny reports that Chinese ships had carried out similar trans-shipments of fuel at sea to North Korean vessels after the United States released images from satellites showing the Rye Song Gang 1 connected to a Chinese tanker by hoses.
South Korea has seized a second ship as part of what it describes as an ongoing effort to monitor North Korea's attempts to evade United Nations sanctions.
Under the most recent sanctions, imposed in early December, North Korea is only permitted to import 500,000 barrels of refined petroleum a year, a reduction of 86 percent of its previous imports. But South Korean officials did not confirm if the Lighthouse Winmore was one of the vessels pictured.
China denied Friday that it was supplying oil to North Korea, USA Today reported. "We are liaising with the Korean parties concerned to obtain further information about the incident, and will take appropriate actions as necessary", the statement said.
The Lighthouse Winmore is one of the 10 ships proposed to be blacklisted.
The KOTI's ties to China also seem clear, the tanker is run by companies operating out of Hong Kong and Dalian, two well-known hubs for North Korean sanctions evasion.
"This marks a typical case of North Korea shrewdly circumventing UN Security Council sanctions by using its illegal networks", he told journalists. It is Panamanian flagged.
Trump condemns attack on Coptic Christians
The Islamic State group's affiliate in Egypt has killed dozens of Christians in church bombings and shootings over the past year. The ministry said security forces had "immediately dealt with the (attacker) and arrested him after he was wounded".
- Philadelphia Eagles: The importance of week 17
- Russian Federation confirms missile defense system sale to Turkey
- Israel responds with raids to Gaza rockets
- Maine's minimum wage to increase to $10 an hour
- Russia: Several injured after blast in Saint Petersburg supermarket, say police
- 'Make America Gay Again': Mike Pence gets trolled with rainbow flag
- Anand wins World Rapid Championship
- Jay-Z and Beyoncé appear in "Family Feud" music video
- Multiple deputies down following domestic disturbance call at Colorado apartment complex
- Oregon Appeals Court Upholds Discrimination Ruling Against Antigay Bakers