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US NewsU.S. Seizes North Korean Ship for Violating Sanctions

00:00  10 may  2019
00:00  10 may  2019 Source:   msn.com

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WASHINGTON — The United States has seized a North Korean shipping vessel that was violating American law and international sanctions , the Justice Department announced Thursday, a move certain to escalate tensions already on the rise because of recent North Korean weapons tests.

The U . S . has seized a North Korean freighter that was caught shipping coal in violation of U .N. sanctions , the Justice Department revealed Federal prosecutors said the seizure marks the first time the U . S . has taken possession of a North Korean ship for violating international sanctions .

U.S. Seizes North Korean Ship for Violating Sanctions © Justice Department, via Associated Press The seizure of the Wise Honest was the first time the United States has seized a North Korean cargo vessel for international sanctions violations.

WASHINGTON — The United States has seized a North Korean shipping vessel that was violating American law and international sanctions, the Justice Department announced Thursday, a move certain to escalate tensions already on the rise because of recent North Korean weapons tests.

Prosecutors said the carrier ship, the Wise Honest, was being used to export North Korean coal, a critical sector of the North’s economy that the United States and the United Nations have aggressively imposed sanctions on in an effort to force Pyongyang to end its nuclear weapons program. The ship was also being used to import heavy machinery.

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The Trump administration has seized a North Korean cargo ship used to supply coal to the isolated nation in violation of international sanctions . U . S . President Donald Trump shakes hands with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un at the Capella Hotel on Sentosa island in Singapore June 12, 2018.

It was the first time the United States has seized a North Korean cargo vessel for international sanctions violations, the Justice Department said. Officials said the seizure is part of a broad plan to enforce the international sanctions and ultimately pressure North Korea to dismantle its nuclear program.

“This sanctions-busting ship is now out of service,” said John C. Demers, the head of the Justice Department’s national security division. The complaint was filed in Federal District Court in Manhattan on Thursday by the United States attorney’s office for the Southern District of New York.

U.S. Seizes North Korean Ship for Violating Sanctions © Thomson Reuters Assistant Attorney General John C. Demers of the National Security Division stands during a news conference to announce indictments against China's Huawei Technologies Co Ltd, several of its subsidiaries and its chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou, in a pair of cases accusing the company of everything from bank and wire fraud to obstructing justice and conspiring to steal trade secrets from T-Mobile US Inc., at the Justice Department in Washington, U.S., January 28, 2019. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts

The civil action came as North Korea’s weapons tests over the past several days have threatened the disarmament discussions that President Trump opened. Mr. Trump and the North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un, abruptly ended their second meeting earlier this year when Mr. Trump refused to ease sanctions unless the North dismantled all of its nuclear weapons.

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The United States has for the first time seized a North Korean cargo ship it accused of illicit coal shipments in violation of U . S . and United The U .N. Security Council has unanimously strengthened sanctions on North Korea since 2006 in a bid to choke funding for Pyongyang’ s nuclear and ballistic

U . S . authorities have seized a North Korean ship allegedly used to sell coal in violation of international sanctions , the first such move by Justice Department officials as they ratchet up enforcement Last year, Indonesian authorities stopped the ship on suspicion of violating sanctions .

Though the Justice Department obtained a sealed seizure warrant for the ship in July, officials said the timing of the complaint seeking the vessel’s forfeiture had nothing to do with the current tensions between the two countries. On Thursday, the Wise Honest was in United States custody on its way to American Samoa, the Justice Department said.

The ship was used in a North Korean scheme to export tons of coal to foreign countries and to import heavy machinery in violation of international sanctions, prosecutors said.

Indonesian authorities detained the ship in April 2018 after it was photographed at a North Korean port, loading onto the ship what prosecutors said appeared to be coal. When the ship traveled to Indonesia, it tried to conceal details about its location by disabling its Automatic Identification System. The ship’s signal had been turned off since August 2017.

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Numerous other North Korean “ghost ships ” with false, stolen, or obscured identification markings are said to engage in similar practices, but the Wise Honest is the first one The captain was charged with violating Indonesian law. Last July the U . S . initiated the process of seizing the ship , an action legally

U . S . authorities have seized a North Korean ship that was transporting coal in violation of international sanctions , the Department of Justice announced Thursday.The North Korean ship , the Wise Honest, is the first seized by U . S . authorities over sanctions violations .

Three American banks were unwittingly ensnared in the scheme, officials said, transmitting payments around the world for maintenance, equipment and improvement of the shipping vessel. The Wise Honest’s coal haul from March 2018 drew payments of more than $750,000 through accounts at one of the banks, the complaint said.

“With this seizure, we have significantly disrupted that cycle,” said Geoffrey S. Berman, the United States attorney in Manhattan.

North Korea’s economy can absorb the loss of a single ship and its cargo, said David Maxwell, a retired United States Army Special Forces colonel who is now a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. “The bigger issue,” he said, “is the timing of this and the message it sends to Kim Jong-un that we can track your shipping and we can seize it under international law and so we can put even more pressure on you.”

U.S. Seizes North Korean Ship for Violating Sanctions © ASSOCIATED PRESS This Saturday, May 4, 2019, photo provided on Sunday, May 5, 2019, by the North Korean government shows North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, equipped with binoculars, observing tests of different weapons systems, in North Korea. North Korean state media on Sunday said leader Kim observed live-fire drills of long-range multiple rocket launchers and unspecified tactical guided weapons, a day after South Korea’s military detected the North launching several unidentified short-range projectiles into the sea off its eastern coast. Independent journalists were not given access to cover the event depicted in this image distributed by the North Korean government. The content of this image is as provided and cannot be independently verified. Korean language watermark on image as provided by source reads: "KCNA" which is the abbreviation for Korean Central News Agency. (Korean Central News Agency/Korea News Service via AP)

Mr. Demers also noted that the seizure was not just about one ship and one shipment. The Wise Honest is the second-largest cargo ship in Pyongyang’s fleet, he said, and the value of the ship is multiplied every time the North Koreans are able to make shipments on it and evade sanctions.

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Simply, the ship was routed to avoid being caught for violating sanctions . The indictment also outlines how Chinese entities in Hong Kong assisted with routing the You might remember November 2017 CTH discussions about U . S . vessels conducting training exercises in/around shipping lanes.

WASHINGTON — The U . S . said Thursday it has seized a North Korean cargo ship that was used to violate international sanctions , a first-of-its kind enforcement action that comes tense moment in relations between the two countries.

While prosecuting foreign nationals who violate sanctions can be difficult and drawn out, “to actually seize and forfeit a significant asset of the country or the sanctions violator can provide a much more substantial deterrent,” said Sharon Cohen Levin, a former chief of the asset forfeiture unit of the United States attorney’s office in Manhattan.

The Justice Department seized the vessel from the Indonesians, and the United States Coast Guard evaluated it to ensure it was safe enough to make the trip. The vessel is being towed by a commercial tow boat to American Samoa, officials said.

The United Nations Security Council has imposed five rounds of sanctions against North Korea since early 2016, when Pyongyang conducted its fourth nuclear test. China and others argued at the time that the sanctions would disproportionately affect ordinary North Koreans and could backfire.

In March, there were reports that the American-led sanctions on exports were indeed causing economic dysfunction by depriving North Korea its main source of income.

When Mr. Trump and Mr. Kim met in Vietnam in February, Mr. Kim wanted the United States to lift the sanctions that were directly affecting the nation’s civilian economy. The meeting ended without an agreement.

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North Korea sought to disguise the ship ' s operations by listing various other countries for its nationality and the origin of its cargo, according to the The U . S . has prosecuted people and businesses for violating sanctions but has never before seized a North Korean ship . The country will have an

WASHINGTON — The United States has seized a North Korean shipping vessel in response to violating American-led sanctions , the Justice Department announced Thursday, a move that is certain to escalate tensions already on the rise between the two nations because of recent North Korean

U.S. Seizes North Korean Ship for Violating Sanctions © ASSOCIATED PRESS In this combination of images. North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, left, and President Donald Trump during their meeting Thursday, Feb. 28, 2019, in Hanoi. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

Eileen Sullivan reported from Washington, and Benjamin Weiser from New York.

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Gallery: Photos of the day (Reuters)

U.S. Seizes North Korean Ship for Violating Sanctions

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