Human Rights

DoJ announces forfeiture of N. Korean cargo vessel

WASHINGTON, The US Department of Justice announced late Monday the entry of a judgment of forfeiture regarding the M/V Wise Honest (the “Wise Honest”), a single-hull bulk carrier ship registered in North Korea.

The DoJ said in a statement that the Wise Honest, considered one of North Korea’s largest bulk carriers, was used “to illicitly ship coal from North Korea and to deliver heavy machinery back to North Korea.” It added “payments for maintenance, equipment and improvements of the Wise Honest were made in US dollars through unwitting US banks.” It stressed that “this conduct violates longstanding US law and United Nations Security Council resolutions.

“This order of forfeiture sinks the Wise Honest’s career as one of North Korea’s largest sanctions-busting vessels,” said Assistant Attorney General for National Security John Demers.

He affirmed that the DoJ “will continue to pursue other property used to violate US and international sanctions, around the globe, with the cooperation of our international partners.” According to the documents filed in a federal court, “from at least November 2016 through April 2018, the Wise Honest was used by Korea Songi Shipping Company, an affiliate of Korea Songi General Trading Corporation, to export coal from North Korea to foreign purchasers and import machinery to North Korea (the Korea Songi Scheme).” In June 2017, the Department of Treasury Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) designated Songi Trading Company “for its involvement in the sale, supply, or transfer of coal from North Korea.” OFAC also determined Songi Trading Company “was a subordinate of the Korean People’s Army”.

Source: Kuwait News Agency