The United States has seized a North Korean cargo ship that was accused of shipping coal in exchange for heavy machinery in violation of international sanctions. The 17,061-ton cargo ship, named the Wise Honest, was stopped in Indonesia in July and the United States had requested to take possession of the vessel.
The Justice Department says that the crew would lie about the origin of the vessel and where its coal came from in order to evade sanctions. Officials also say that the shipping company used "unwitting" American banks to make over $750,000 in payments for repairs and upgrades on the ship.
It is the first time the United States has ever seized a North Korean shipping vessel.
"This sanctions-busting ship is now out of service," Assistant Attorney General John Demers said in a press release. "North Korea and the companies that help it evade U.S. and U.N. sanctions should know that we will use all tools at our disposal — including a civil forfeiture action such as this one or criminal charges — to enforce the sanctions enacted by the U.S. and the global community.
Photo: United States Department of Justice