Global port ban slapped on ships violating N. Korea sanctions

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The coordinator of the panel of the United Nations regarding North Korean sanctions Hugh Griffiths called the move unprecedented.

The Jie Shun was intercepted by Egypt on August 11, 2016, carrying 30,000 rocket propelled grenades in wooden crates concealed under about 2,300 tonnes of iron ore, according to United Nations sanctions monitors.

Griffiths identified the four ships as Petrel 8, Hao Fan 6, Tong San 2, and Jie Shun.

The Hao Fan 6 is registered in St. Kitts and Nevis, tiny islands in the Caribbean, while the Petrel 8 is a cargo ship registered in the Comoros islands, off the coast of East Africa; according to MarineTraffic.com.

The ship had left the North Korean port of Haeju on July 23, 2016, and was interdicted in Egyptian territorial waters south of the Suez Canal, the experts said.

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Sources say the ships were found carrying coal, seafood and iron ore, exports banned by a United Nations resolution brought by the USA in August. According to estimates, North Korea exports about $ 3 billion annually, the sanctions may trim $ 1 billion from this trade. Prohibitions on authorizing new permits to North Korean workers to work overseas are also in place. "But it's a port ban", Hugh Griffiths, coordinator of a UN Security Council panel on North Korea sanctions, said Monday.

In an October 3 note to the Security Council's North Korea sanctions committee, seen by Reuters, the United States said it was withdrawing four ships it had proposed for listing - the South Korean-flagged Xin Shen Hai, the Palau-flagged East Glory 7, the Panama-flagged Kai Xiang and Cheng Hong.

These latest sanctions ban North Korea from importing all natural gas liquids and condensates, and cap its crude oil imports.

Both resolutions are aimed at increasing economic pressure on the Democratic People's Republic of Korea - the country's official name - to return to negotiations on its nuclear and missile programs.

In addition to informing member states about the four new designations, Griffiths also pointed to concerns about sanctions evasions that seem to be continuing, particularly with regard to the export of coal.

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