An oil tanker suspected of illegally supplying North Korea was not registered by Maldivian authorities to sail under the national flag, the government said Wednesday after Japan notified the UN Security Council of the incident.
According to Japan’s foreign ministry, a military aircraft spotted the Maldivian-flagged tanker Xin Juan 18 lying alongside a North Korean-flagged tanker on February 24.
The Maldives president’s office said an investigation is underway and vowed to “pursue aggressive action against any such acts which affects the national identity in such a detrimental manner.”
It condemned “the use of our national flag in a manner so as to tarnish the good standing and reputation of our nation and that of our people” and assured support for implementing security council resolutions.
“Maldivian authorities do not allow flag of convenience to foreign-owned vessels to operate outside Maldivian waters.”
In a Dhivehi statement released in response to media reports Wednesday morning, the Maldives Transport Authority said there was “no legal basis for using the Maldivian flag” as foreign vessels cannot be registered here.
“We urge all parties not to spread such false and misleading information in the media,” it said.
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.