Taiwan’s Maritime and Port Bureau has banned 267 vessels from entering its territorial waters and ports from June 5, in accordance with the UN North Korea sanctions resolution, according to a port circular issued this week.
“These sanctions are for all countries… it is coming from the UN. Some Taiwanese did business with North Korean ships… and their assets were [seized],” said a shipping executive from a North Asian refiner.
Of the 267 vessels, four were registered as container liners and the rest are a mix of dry bulk and wet tankers.
The UN Security Council passed Resolution 2371 on August 5, 2017, with the approval of all five permanent members and 10 non-permanent members — its sixth sanction on the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea — in response to the country’s persistence with nuclear tests.
The sanction includes barring North Korea from the supply, sale and transfer of commodities including coal, iron, iron ore, lead and lead ore, as well as seafood.
It also restricts North Korea’s access to the international financial system and prohibits other nations from hiring any more North Korean workers.
North Asian market participants Wednesday said most countries and companies in the region no longer actively deal with North Korean vessels as a result of the sanctions.
“The point is who chartered the vessel, as they are the one doing the illegal business — the vessel owner may not have intended to smuggle or do illegal things,” the source said, adding “if ships are caught, [authorities] will use a satellite or drone to take a photo of the ship; they will take evidence”.
The resolution excludes oil refined products of up to 500,000 barrels until December 31, 2020.
Despite that exemption, industry sources noted that the majority of industry sources have been advised to abstain from chartering these vessels.
“There are not many that will do bunkering business with North Korean vessels,” a trader said Wednesday, adding that companies usually exercise caution in these cases to avoid violating compliance procedures.
At least six of the 267 vessels on the restricted list were recently in Taiwan, S&P Global Platts cFlow trade flow software showed.
The United Earnings 66 was in Kaohsiung May 24-26, the Shuen Far 168 in Kaohsiung May 18-25, the Jin Da in Taipei May 22, the Ding Shin No98 in Kaohsiung May 16-20, the Tiger in Taipei April 4-5 and the Jin Hye seen off Taiwan over the last six months.