S Korea seizes Hong Kong vessel it says took oil to North

S Korea seizes Hong Kong vessel it says took oil to North

S Korea seizes Hong Kong vessel it says took oil to North

The ship, KOTI, was seized at Pyeongtaek-Dangjin port, the official told Reuters, without elaborating, because of the sensitivity of the issue.

"The actions taken will be reported to the UN Security Council sanctions committee on North Korea in the future".

The Sam Jong 2 was one of four North Korean-flagged ships that were named by the United Nations on Thursday as being banned from entering foreign ports on suspicion that they are transporting goods that are prohibited under worldwide sanctions created to curtail Pyongyang's efforts to develop nuclear weapons and intercontinental ballistic missiles.

Three sanctions have targeted North Korea this year, taking aim at iron, coal, fishing, textiles, oil and refined petroleum products.

South Korea said it has seized a Panama-flagged vessel days after it impounded a Hong Kong-registered tanker suspected of transferring oil products in global waters.

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The current limit was set in a Security Council resolution adopted in September following the North's sixth and most powerful nuclear test.

The South Korean official said on Friday that the Lightouse Winmore, chartered by a Taiwanese company and carrying oil products from South Korea, had transferred part of its cargo to a North Korean ship on 19 October.

A North Korean flag flies on a mast at the Permanent Mission of North Korea in Geneva October 2, 2014.

Earlier a foreign ministry official in Seoul had said the ship had been seized briefly by customs authorities who inspected it.

The seizure was the second to be revealed by South Korea within a few days, as the United Nations steps up efforts to squeeze essential oil supplies to the reclusive North following its nuclear or ballistic missile tests.

The US Treasury Department released satellite imagery in November of two ships allegedly performing an illegal ship-to-ship transfer in global waters on the same day.

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Even though the Sam Jong 2 was not among the four banned vessels, it appears on a list of six other ships suspected of transporting illicit cargo, along with the Lighthouse Winmore.

China denied the allegations, saying reports that it sold oil to North Korea did "not accord with the facts".

The KOTI's ties to China also seem clear, the tanker is run by companies operating out of Hong Kong and Dalian, two well-known hubs for North Korean sanctions evasion. "This is one of the main ways in which North Korea uses an illegal network to circumvent UN Security Council sanctions".

CNN's Taehoon Lee reported from in Seoul, Lauren Said-Moorhouse wrote from London while Yuli Yang and James Griffiths contributed from Hong Kong.

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