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North Korean Coal Cargo Adrift Near Vietnam

Coal News - Published on Tue, 11 Jun 2019

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Malaysia Sun reported that a vessel loaded with USD 3 million worth of North Korean coal is now floating off Vietnam's coast, searching for a place to dock. The Dong Thanh, a Vietnamese-owned vessel sailing under a Panamanian flag, entered Vietnamese territorial waters carrying the North Korean coal. It has wandered the international waters off Malaysia and Indonesia for two months after each denied the ship entry into their territorial waters. The coal aboard the Dong Thanh began its odyssey in the cargo hold of the Wise Honest, a North Korean cargo vessel now in US custody in American Samoa. The Justice Department authorized seizure of the Wise Honest in early May, alleging it was transporting North Korean coal and violating US and United Nations sanctions.

Prior to the US action, Indonesia detained the Wise Honest for over a year starting April 2018. Indonesian authorities held the ship for having improper shipping documents and violating the country's maritime law. But the coal was released by the Indonesian Balikpapan District Court, the district where the vessel was ordered to remain anchored, when an Indonesian broker with ties to North Korea requested that the coal be sold.

The court released the coal based on a Certification of Origin that stated the coal originated in Russia. Because the Wise Honest took on the coal on board while docked at Nampo, North Korean port of Nampo in March 2018, and Pyongyang has a history of creating false documents, the certificate is widely believed to be fake, according to the UN Panel of Experts.

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Posted By : Rabi Wangkhem on Tue, 11 Jun 2019
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