Japan-North Korea Relations

Suspicion of illegal ship-to-ship transfers of goods by Rye Song Gang 1, North Korean-flagged tanker,
and Yuk Tung, Dominican-flagged tanker

(January 20, 2018)

January 24, 2018
Japanese

1. Overview

Before dawn on January 20, 2018, a Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force Fleet Air Wing 1 P-3C (Kanoya) confirmed that Rye Song Gang 1, North Korean-flagged tanker, was lying alongside Yuk Tung, Dominican-flagged tanker, on the high sea in the East China Sea.

Judging from the fact that the two vessels lay alongside each other with their lights turned on at night, both vessels could have been engaged in some type of activity. Following a comprehensive assessment, the Government of Japan strongly suspects that they conducted ship-to-ship transfers banned by UNSCR.

In November 2017, the US Treasury Department revealed that Rye Song Gang 1 engaged in ship-to-ship transfers and in December 2017, the Security Council Committee established pursuant to Resolution 1718 designated that vessel as banned from port entry for activities prohibited by relevant resolutions, including transporting prohibited items from North Korea. Following a comprehensive assessment, the Government of Japan confirms that Rye Song Gang 1 camouflaged its vessel name as Song Hae and strongly suspects sanctions evasion.

  • 画像1
    Rye Song Gang 1 and Yuk Tung lying alongside each other with their lights turned on
    (January 20, 06:30) (Source: Ministry of Defense)
  • 画像1
    Rye Song Gang 1 away from Yuk Tung
    (January 20, 07:30) (Source: Ministry of Defense)
  • 画像1
    Yuk Tung
    (January 20, 08:20) (Source: Ministry of Defense)
  • 画像2
    Rye Song Gang 1
    (January 20, 08:10) (Source: Ministry of Defense)

2. Japan's Response

Japan notified the Security Council Committee of this incident and shared information with related countries. Japan also expressed its interest to the Yuk Tung-related countries.