South Korea Detains Cargo Ship Suspected of North Korea Ties

Written by Camilla Jessen

Apr.03 - 2024 11:47 AM CET

Photo: Yonhap
Photo: Yonhap
South Korea's coast guard has recently detained a cargo ship allegely traveling from North Korea towards Russia. The ship, sailing without a national flag, was apprehended in the Sea of Japan.

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Identified as DEYI, the 3,000-ton cargo ship found itself in the international spotlight when it was intercepted by South Korean authorities last Saturday.

According to reports from Yonhap, the vessel was traveling from North Korea to Russia via China, a route that raised suspicions under the current UN sanctions regime against Pyongyang.

The crew, comprising 13 individuals including a Chinese captain and members from China and Indonesia, reportedly refused to halt the vessel upon request, prompting the South Korean Coast Guard to take decisive action. The ship was forcibly escorted to the southeastern port of Busan for a thorough investigation.

Uncovering the Mystery Cargo

The reason for stopping the DEYI lies in its cargo.

South Korean officials, in close coordination with the United States, are examining the vessel for potential violations of UN Security Council resolutions. These resolutions aim to prevent North Korea from acquiring prohibited goods, in an effort to limit the country's controversial programs.

Currently, the investigation has hit a snag as the crew refuses to disclose the contents of the cargo hold, leaving both authorities and the international community in suspense for confirmation.

International Laws and Local Actions

This incident is part of South Korea's efforts to enforce international law within its maritime borders.

UN Resolution 2397, adopted in 2017, authorizes South Korea to detain, inspect, and seize any ship in its waters suspected of engaging with North Korea in banned activities. The resolution is part of a broader international effort to enforce sanctions aimed at pressuring Pyongyang to dismantle its nuclear and missile programs.

Additionally, the recent detention of the DEYI follows South Korea's announcement of sanctions against two other vessels and individuals connected to North Korea, indicating a heightened crackdown on illicit maritime activities.

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