Mexico is holding the North Korea-flagged freighter Mu Du Bong to comply with the country’s international obligations as a State Member of the United Nations, the Secretariat of Foreign Affairs of Mexico (SRE) said in a response to the allegations that the country is illegally holding the vessel.
The response is a reaction to the claims made by North Korea’s Deputy UN Ambassador An Myong Hun, who said that Mu Du Bong and its crew of 50 have been illegally detained in Mexico since July 2014, and that North Korea will undertake ”necessary measures” to release it.
On July 14, 2014, the 6,700 dwt freighter ran aground in the Protected Natural Area “Lobos-Tuxpan Reef System” in Veracruz, causing a serious environmental damage, according to the SRE. For this reason, the vessel was immediately inspected by the competent national authorities, which determined that it should repair the damage and pay a USD 700,000 fine. On December 3, 2014, the payment was made.
Almost simultaneously, the United Nations Security Council notified the Mexican government of the evidence that the vessel belonged to a UN-blacklisted Ocean Maritime Management Company.
The Security Council has not completed its analysis of the case yet, so in compliance with the obligations under the United Nations Charter, Mexico cannot authorize the release of the vessel. Decisions of the Security Council are binding on all Member States of the United Nations, the SRE said.
Since the grounding of the Mu Du Bong, the government of Mexico has ensured ”free movement” for the ship’s crew consisting of 33 North Korean nationals. None of the crew members have been charged with anything, according to the SRE.
The SRE stressed that this situation is not due to any dispute between the two countries.
World Maritime News Staff