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South Korea Seizes 2nd Ship Suspected of Carrying Oil to North Korea


The Lighthouse Winmore, chartered by Taiwanese company Billions Bunker Group Corp., is seen at sea off South Korea's Yeosu port, Dec. 29, 2017. South Korea briefly seized and inspected a Hong Kong-registered ship in November for transferring oil products to a North Korean vessel and breaching UN sanctions, a foreign ministry official said.

South Korean authorities have seized a Panama-flagged vessel suspected of transferring oil products to North Korea in violation of international sanctions, a customs official said Sunday.

The ship can carry 5,100 tons of oil and has a crew mostly from China and Myanmar, Yonhap News Agency reported, adding that South Korea’s intelligence and customs officials are conducting a joint probe into the vessel.

The official did not say when authorities moved in, but the seizure was the second to be revealed within just a few days. The KOTI is being held in the western port of Pyeongtaek-Dangjin, Gyeonggi Province, Yonhap reported.

South Korea said Friday that in late November it had seized the Hong Kong-flagged Lighthouse Winmore, which is suspected of transferring as much as 600 tons of oil to the North Korea-flagged Sam Jong 2.

The U.N. Security Council last month unanimously imposed new sanctions on North Korea for a recent intercontinental ballistic missile test, seeking to limit its access to refined petroleum products and crude oil.

The United States has also proposed that the United Nations Security Council blacklist 10 ships for transporting banned items from North Korea, according to documents seen by Reuters on Tuesday.

The Lighthouse Winmore is one of the 10 ships proposed for the blacklist. The KOTI does not seem to be included on the list.

China on Friday denied reports it had been illicitly selling oil products to North Korea in defiance of U.N. sanctions, after U.S. President Donald Trump said he was unhappy that China had allowed oil to reach the isolated nation.

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