A North Korea-flagged general cargo ship Mu Du Bong and its crew have been illegally detained in Mexico since July 2014, and North Korea will undertake ”necessary measures” to release it, the country’s Deputy UN Ambassador An Myong Hun was reported by Reuters as saying.
The 6,700-ton freighter ran aground and damaged a reef 7.5 miles northeast off the Port of Tuxpan on July 14, while sailing from Havana, Cuba. The ship and its 50 crew have been detained in Tuxpan after the vessel was linked to a UN-blacklisted Ocean Maritime Management Company.
An Myong said that North Korea compensated Mexico for the damages to the reef, and that Mu Du Bong is not owned and operated by the blacklisted Ocean Maritime Management Company. Therefore, the sanctions imposed on the company by the UN do not apply to the vessel, according to An Myong.
Describing the detention as a ”rampant violation of the dignified sovereignty” of North Korea, An Myong said Mu Du Bong was a ”peaceful and legitimate” commercial ship.
However, the UN’s sanctions violation panel coordinator Hugh Griffiths described the case as a ”slam dunk,” saying that there was ample evidence to link the vessel to the Ocean Maritime Management Company.
The Ocean Maritime Management Company was blacklisted by the UN last July after one of its ships, the Chong Chon Gang, was arrested in Panama carrying arms hidden under tons of Cuban sugar.
World Maritime News Staff