Japan-North Korea Relations

Suspicion of illegal ship-to-ship transfers of goods by MU BONG 1, North Korean-flagged tanker, and small vessels of unknown nationality

(November 13, 2019)

November 26, 2019
Japanese

1. Overview

Before dawn of November 13, 2019, a JS ‘Sendai’ (Escort Division14: Maizuru) of Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force found that MU BONG 1 (IMO number: 8610461), North Korean-flagged tanker, was lying alongside a small vessel of unknown nationality on the high seas (around 280km eastern offshore of Shanghai) in the East China Sea.

Judging from the fact that these vessels lay alongside each other and connected hoses, these 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.

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    MU BONG 1 lying alongside a small vessel of unknown nationality
    (November 13 03:00 (JST)) (Source: Ministry of Defense)
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    MU BONG 1
    (November 10 13:20 (JST)) (Source: Ministry of Defense)

2. Japan’s Response

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