Japan-North Korea Relations

Suspicion of illegal ship-to-ship transfers of goods by JI SONG 6, North Korean-flagged tanker, and small vessel of unknown nationality

(May 19, 2018)

May 29, 2018
Japanese

1. Overview

At midnight on May 19, 2018, a P-3C aircraft of Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (Fleet Air Wing 1 P-3C : Kanoya) found that JI SONG 6(IMO number:8898740), North Korean-flagged tanker, was lying alongside a small vessel of unknown nationality flying a flag that seemed like Chinese-flag, on the high sea (around 350 km southeastern offshore of Shanghai) in the East China Sea.

Judging from the fact that the two vessels lay alongside each other with their lights turned on at night and connected hoses, 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 March, 2018, the Security Council Committee established pursuant to Resolution 1718 designated JI SONG 6 as a vessel subject to assets freeze and prohibited from port entry.

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    JI SONG 6 and small vessel of unknown nationality lying alongside each other with their lights turned on
    (May 19, 3:20 (JST)) (Source: Ministry of Defense)
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    JI SONG 6 and small vessel of unknown nationality lying alongside each other with their lights turned on
    (May 19, 4:10 (JST)) (Source: Ministry of Defense)
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    Small vessel of unknown nationality
    (May 19, 6:00 (JST)) (Source: Ministry of Defense)
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    JI SONG 6
    (May 19, 6:10 (JST)) (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 China which could have relation to small vessel of unknown nationality.