Japan-North Korea Relations

Suspicion of illegal ship-to-ship transfers of goods by AN SAN 1, North Korean-flagged tanker, and a vessel of unknown nationality

(June 29, 2018)

July 4, 2018
Japanese

1. Overview

In the daytime on June 29 2018, a JS 'SENDAI' (Escort Division14: Maizuru) of Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force found that AN SAN 1(IMO number:7303803), North Korean-flagged tanker, was lying alongside a vessel of unknown nationality on the high sea (around 350km south-southeastern offshore of Shanghai) in the East China Sea.

Judging from the fact that the two vessels lay alongside each other 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 AN SAN 1 as a vessel subject to assets freeze and prohibited from port entry. Following a comprehensive assessment, the Government of Japan confirms that AN SAN 1 camouflaged its vessel name as HOPE SEA and strongly suspects sanctions evasion.

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    AN SAN 1 and a vessel of unknown nationality lying alongside each other and connecting hoses
    (June 29, 11:15 (JST)) (Source : Ministry of Defense)
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    AN SAN 1 and a vessel of unknown nationality lying alongside each other and connecting hoses
    (June 29, 11:20 (JST)) (Source : Ministry of Defense)
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    A vessel of unknown nationality
    (June 29, 14:15 (JST)) (Source : Ministry of Defense)
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    AN SAN 1
    (June 29, 14:15 (JST)) (Source : Ministry of Defense)
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    AN SAN 1
    (June 29, 11:20 (JST)) (Source : Ministry of Defense)

2. Japan’s Response

Japan notified the Security Council Committee of this incident and shared information with related countries.