North Korean shipping company Ocean Maritime Management Company Limited (OMM) continues to evade sanctions by operating foreign-flagged ships, according to a UN Security Council panel cited by Reuters.
Aside to using foreign-flagged ships for illegal arms shipments to the Middle East and exporting ballistic-missile technology to Africa, inter alia, the company has also resorted to name and company registrations, along with hiring of foreign crews, the panel said in a report.
The report also indicates that nine of 15 vessels operated by OMM are operating freely despite being blacklisted, with 14 of them re-flagged.
The panel believes that the sanctions imposed so far have not been efficient in curbing these practices. UN Security Council members, led by the US, are considering harsher measures against North Korea including restricting the country’s access to international ports. Tightening restrictions against North Korean banks and limiting their access to the international financing is also being considered, Reuters reports.
However, China, one of North Korea’s allies, is still reluctant to impose harsher economic sanctions against Pyongyang that would have a bigger impact on North Korea’s economy.
The report emerges on the back of Pyongyang’s recent launching of an earth observation satellite Kwangmyongsong-4 into orbit. The launching caused a stir among the world powers who believe that North Korea is using the launching as an excuse and was in fact conducting a long-range missile test. North Korea claims that the launch was conducted for scientific purposes.
World Maritime News Staff