New York Federal Court has ruled to confiscate the oil tanker Courageous, reportedly used for illicit petroleum shipment through shore- and ship-to-ship transfers aimed to provide North Korea with oil products, according to the US Department of Justice.
As court documents read, the scheme that included the purchase of the vessel and financial operations, made in dollars and via American banks, aimed to circumvent sanctions imposed on North Korea and have violated US law and UN Security Council resolutions.
The alleged owner and operator of the tanker, Singaporean national Kwek Kee Seng, is at large and is expected to be charged for “conspiracy to evade economic sanctions on the DPRK and money laundering conspiracy.
Courageous, which was said to have been purchased “through front companies,” did not provide necessary data regarding its location between August and December of 2019.
During this period the tanker was said to have transferred over $1.5 million worth of oil for North Korea. Courageous has been loading the oil onto the North Korean ship, Saebyol.
The tanker was detained in March 2020 by Cambodian authorities prior to when the Southern District Court of New York filed a civil forfeiture complaint against the owners of the vessel.
North Korea has been under severe economic and political sanctions aimed to restrict the country’s nuclear activity and exert pressure on Pyongyang to denuclearize.
International restrictions on trade and other crucial industries have deepened, covering, among other things, the country’s oil supplies.
The sanctions, imposed by the UN Security Council, stipulate that oil suppliers trading with North Korea inform the UN about the shipments.
Sputnik / ABC Flash Point Shipping News 2021.