Japan-North Korea Relations
Suspicion of illegal ship-to-ship transfers of goods by CHON MA SAN, North Korean-flagged tanker, and a vessel of unknown nationality
(January 12, 2020)
Before dawn of January 12, 2020, a JS ‘Tokiwa’ (Replenishment –at-Sea Squadron 1: Yokosuka) of Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force found that CHON MA SAN (IMO number: 8660313), a North Korean-flagged tanker, was lying alongside a vessel of unknown nationality that “明波5” was written on the hull on the high seas in the East China Sea (around 240km eastern offshore of Shanghai).
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 a United Nations Security Council Resolution.
In March 2018, the Security Council Committee established pursuant to Resolution 1718 designated “CHON MA SAN” as a vessel subject to assets freeze and prohibited from port entry.
2. Japan’s Response
Japan notified the Security Council Committee (Panel of Experts) of this incident and shared information with related countries.