Japan has notified the UN Security Council of the suspected transfer of goods from a tanker with a Maldivian flag to a North Korean vessel in violation of international sanctions.
A military aircraft spotted the Maldivian-flagged tanker Xin Juan 18 lying alongside a North Korean-flagged tanker around 250 km east of Shanghai at midnight on February 24, according to a statement by Japan’s foreign ministry.
“Judging from the fact that the two vessels lay alongside each other with their lights turned on at night, both 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 UNSCR.”
Former president Mohamed Nasheed said it was “concerning but unsurprising” that President Abdulla Yameen was breaking UN sanctions.
“He’s getting Maldives flagged ships to transfer cargo to North Korean ships on the high seas. In 1990s, Prez Yameen did the same with Burmese junta,” he tweeted, referring to Yameen’s alleged involvement with sanctions-busting oil trading with the Burmese military dictatorship.
UNSC sanctions imposed on North Korea last December in response to nuclear and missile tests limited the pariah state’s oil imports to 4 billion barrels per year.