Japan-North Korea Relations
Suspicion of illegal ship-to-ship transfers of goods by SAEBYOL, North Korean-flagged tanker, and a small vessel of unknown nationality
(March 2, 2019)
March 28, 2019
Before dawn on March 2, 2019, a AOE 'OUMI' (Replenishment at Sea Squadron 1: Sasebo) of Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force found that SAEBYOL (IMO number: 8916293), North Korean-flagged tanker, was lying alongside a vessel of unknown nationality on the high seas (around 390km southern offshore of Shanghai) in the East China Sea.
Judging from the fact that the two vessels lay alongside each other and connected hoses 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 United Nations Security Council Resolution.
In March, 2016, the United Nations Security Council designated SAEBYOL as a vessel subject to assets freeze.
2. Japan’s Response
Japan notified the Security Council Committee (Panel of Experts) of this incident and shared information with related countries.