Japan-North Korea Relations

Suspicion of illegal ship-to-ship transfers of goods by NAM SAN 8, North Korean-flagged tanker, and vessel of unknown nationality

(July 31, 2018)

August 3, 2018
Japanese

1.Overview

At midnight of July 31, 2018, a AOE 'TOWADA' (Replenishment at Sea Squadron 1: Kure) of Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force found that NAM SAN 8 (IMO number: 8122347), North Korean-flagged tanker, was lying alongside a vessel of unknown nationality flying a flag that seemed like Chinese-flag, on the high seas (around 400km 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 NAM SAN 8 as a vessel subject to assets freeze and prohibited from port entry.

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    NAM SAN 8 and a vessel of unknown nationality lying alongside each other and connecting hoses
    (August 1, 0:30(JST)) (Source: Ministry of Defense)
  • 画像2
    NAM SAN 8 and a vessel of unknown nationality lying alongside each other and connecting hoses
    (August 1, 0:30(JST)) (Source: Ministry of Defense)
  • 画像2
    A vessel of unknown nationality
    (August 1, 6:00(JST)) (Source: Ministry of Defense)
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    NAM SAN 8
    (July 30, 6:40(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 the vessel of unknown nationality.