The Philippines has reportedly seized control of a North Korean freight ship which had called in Subic port, Northern Province of Zambales.
The 6,830dwt cargo ship, Jin Teng, operated by North Korea’s Ocean Maritime Management was subject to an asset freeze and sanctions authorised by the UN as a response to the country’s nuclear and ballistic missile activities.
Philippines deputy presidential spokesman Manolo Quezon was quoted by Reuters as saying: “The world is concerned over North Korea’s nuclear weapons programme and as a member of the UN, the Philippines has to do its part to enforce the sanctions.”
The ship, sailing under the Sierra Leone flag, was unloading its cargo of palm kernels.
An initial inspection on the ship had displayed safety concerns like missing fire hoses, a corroded air vent and electrical switches without insulation, as reported by rt.com.
The ship is said to be undergoing inspections and is barred from leaving the port without further notice.
The crew comprising of 21 people are said will be deported.
In 2014, Ocean Maritime was barred by the UN Security Council after it was detected that Cuban weapons were hidden under sugar sacks in one of its ship near the Panama Canal, according to BBC.
However, Philippine Coast Guard regional commander Raul Belesario was quoted by AP as saying that Jin Teng’s documents establishes the ship being operated by a British Virgin Islands firm and is run by a Chinese firm from the Shandong province.
The UN had imposed sanctions on North Korea’s export of goods including the export of coal, iron, rare earth minerals and aviation fuel exports, as well as an arms embargo imposed on the nation’s small arms and light weapons.
Under the sanctions, no registrations or leasings will be awarded to North Korean planes and UN member states are likely to inspect cargo to and from North Korea
North Korea had condemned the imposition of the sanctions and had vowed to retaliate.
A government spokesman was quoted by Xinhua news agency as saying the sactions were the: “worst and most explicit international criminal act that aims to isolate and stifle the defensive and just sovereign state.”