Seized North Korean Bulker Sold for Scrap

The North Korean ship seized by U.S. authorities over alleged violations of United States and United Nations sanctions has been sold and towed out of Pago Pago, American Samoa.

Wise Honest, the 17,061-ton bulker that was seized in May this year, was sold to an unidentified American company for scrap, according to local reports.

It was towed out of the harbor on October 7.

The U.S. Department of Justice announced the vessel’s sale in August this year.

According to documents filed in Manhattan federal court, from at least November 2016 through April 2018, the Wise Honest was used by Korea Songi Shipping Company, an affiliate of Songi Trading Company, to export coal from North Korea to foreign purchasers and import machinery to North Korea.

On June 1, 2017, the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) designated Songi Trading Company pursuant to Executive Order 13722 for its involvement in the sale, supply, or transfer of coal from North Korea. OFAC also determined that Songi Trading Company was a subordinate of the Korean People’s Army.

Mid-March 2018, the Wise Honest was loaded with coal in Nampo, North Korea. In early April 2018, foreign maritime authorities intercepted and detained the Wise Honest.

North Korea demanded in May that the U.S. release the bulker saying the seizure was “an unlawful and outrageous act”.

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