North Korean Cargo Ship Impounded in Philippines

Michael Song, March 7, 2016, 8:05 a.m.


The Philippines on Saturday impounded a North Korean cargo ship and deported 21 crewmembers, AFP reported. It was the first time tighter sanctions against the North under a UN Security Council resolution last week have been implemented. The ship left Palembang, Indonesia on March 3 and attempted to stop in Subic Bay en route to China.

The Philippines impounded the ship because it is on the UNSC sanctions list of suspect freighters, but it was only carrying palm oil. Meanwhile, China has also started to crack down, Reuters reported Saturday. The Chinese government sent out notices to maritime agencies that they must report immediately if any of the 31 North Korean vessels on the list enters Chinese territorial waters.

Voice of America reported that 19 North Korean vessels on the blacklist entered Chinese ports over the past month. Separate sanctions pursued by South Korea, the U.S., Japan and the EU are expected to add more pressure on North Korea. The U.S. recently took its own sanctions against five North Korean agencies and 11 senior officials including army politburo chief Hwang Pyong-so, now considered the North's No. 2 behind leader Kim Jong-un. The EU also slapped sanctions on 12 North Korean agencies and 16 senior officials.

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