Maritime Security

 

Latest Developments

 

This section is intended to heighten awareness and to reveal the detail and complexities of sanctions evasion tactics and violations. It includes recent cases of sanctions violations and punitive measures taken, related to or having links to the maritime space.

 

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COVID-19 U PDATE

Developments concerning the Corona Virus (COVI-19) in North Korea

Excemptions

For activities in the UN that might or have the possibility of violating sanctions when intending to do work inside North Korea, entities or companies may apply for an exemption from compliance. Most recently, the Swiss Humanitarian Aid (a government foreign aid agency) has been granted an exemption by the 1718 Committee for North Korean sanctions. The agency has received authorization to send disinfection kits for 30 hospitals and 2,000 sets of personal protective equipment (PPE) to North Korea to prevent and counter the spread of the Covid-19 virus. The UN has also granted similar such exemptions to the Red Cross and Médecins Sans Frontières recently.

For Humanitarian Exemption Requests see reference

Humanitarian Exemptions in Effect – list of organizations granted exemption for humanitarian assistance and COVID-19 – available on the UN website at:

https://www.un.org/securitycouncil/sanctions/1718/exemptions-measures/humanitarian-exemption-requests

UN to Provide $5 Mln of Emergency Aid to Vulnerable N. Koreans

https://world.kbs.co.kr/service/news_view.htm?lang=e&Seq_Code=153937

IPD Forum articles by Ashley and myself.


Developments concerning the Corona Virus (COVI-19) in North Korea

Excemptions

For activities in the UN that might or have the possibility of violating sanctions when intending to do work inside North Korea, entities or companies may apply for an exemption from compliance. Most recently, the Swiss Humanitarian Aid (a government foreign aid agency) has been granted an exemption by the 1718 Committee for North Korean sanctions. The agency has received authorization to send disinfection kits for 30 hospitals and 2,000 sets of personal protective equipment (PPE) to North Korea to prevent and counter the spread of the Covid-19 virus. The UN has also granted similar such exemptions to the Red Cross and Médecins Sans Frontières recently.

For Humanitarian Exemption Requests see reference

Humanitarian Exemptions in Effect – list of organizations granted exemption for humanitarian assistance and COVID-19 – available on the UN website at:

https://www.un.org/securitycouncil/sanctions/1718/exemptions-measures/humanitarian-exemption-requests

UN to Provide $5 Mln of Emergency Aid to Vulnerable N. Koreans

https://world.kbs.co.kr/service/news_view.htm?lang=e&Seq_Code=153937

IPD Forum articles by Ashley and myself.

Sanctions violations and Illicit activities related to North Korea

  • Illicit Shipments of coal from the DPRK

A report by Royal United Services Institute (RUSI),an independent think tank engaged in cutting edge research. This is Project Sandstone, No. 6 - The Phantom Fleet: North Korea’s Smugglers in Chinese Waters. Using Winward’s vessel tracking platform, together with high-resolution satellite imagery  and Polestar Space Applications AIS data, their investigation reveals that a large fleet of North Korean cargo ships continues to deliver coal to China in contravention of UN resolutions.Available at:

https://rusi.org/sites/default/files/20200305_sandstone_phanton_fleet_final.pdf

  • Illicit Shipments of sand from the DPRK

A report by the Center for Advanced Defense Studies (C4ADS) a Washington, DC-based, non-profit think tank. C4ADS examined North Korean sanctions evasion, tracking foreign vessels sailing from the DPRK to multiple Chinese ports in 2019. These vessels are carrying sand dredged in Haeju Bay area in violation of UN resolutions. Available at:

https://c4ads.org/blogposts/against-the-grain

  • Tanker seized by Cambodia

A Cameroon-registered tanker suspected of conducting illicit ship-to-ship transfers with North Korean vessels in violation of UN resolutions, was seized by Cambodia on 1 March 2020.

Available at: https://www.bairdmaritime.com/ship-world/tanker-world/tanker-suspected-of-north-korea-sanctions-violations-seized-in-cambodia/

And https://www.rfa.org/english/news/cambodia/cambodia-nk-sanctions-charges-03052020135738.html

  • Vessel purchased by North Korea

North Korea purchased the 16,000-ton bulk carrier Vinalines Fortuna from the Vietnam National Shipping Lines in 2018 in violation of UN resolutions. It has been renamed the Tae Pyong. North Korea is prohibited from procuring new or used vessels. Available at:

https://www.wsj.com/articles/after-losing-cargo-ship-to-u-s-north-korea-found-another-in-vietnam-11583352559

Countering North Korean sanctions – International Cooperation remains key to Maximum Pressure Campaign (Page 14-19)

https://ipdefenseforum.com/ipdf-eng-v45n3/

** Ashley Taylor - Cryptocurrency challenges (Page 20-27)

North Korea may have exceeded its yearly fuel cap in just one month: UN report - NK News, August 5, 2020. Available with subscription

https://www.nknews.org/2020/08/north-korea-may-have-exceeded-its-yearly-fuel-cap-in-just-one-month-un-report/#:~:text=North%20Korea%20may%20have%20exceeded%20a%20United%20Nations%2Dimposed%20yearly,a%20copy%20of%20the%20U.N.&text=The%20potential%20revelation%20underscores%20North,effective%20fuel%20sanctions%20can%20be.

After a COVID-19 lull, North Korea gets back to sanctions-busting as China turns a blind eye – North Korea relies on front-companies registered in China to export coal and sand and import oil in violation of U.N. sanctions.

ABC News July 25, 2020

https://www.nbcnews.com/news/north-korea/after-covid-19-lull-north-korea-gets-back-sanctions-busting-n1234858


Sanctions violations and Illicit activities related to Iran

  • Euroturbine

Netherlands - The Limburg District Court instituted confiscation orders against Euroturbine BV for €600,285.08 and Euroturbine SPC (its subsidiary based in Bahrain), for €4,250,422.54, after being convicted for a February 2019 violation of dual-use export controls.* The criminal trial revealed that Euroturbine made unlawful exports of gas turbine components to Iran without a licence. The company circumvented export controls by routing the restricted components via their Bahrain subsidiary - a violation of EU Regulation 428/2009 and domestic export controls of the Netherlands.

* ‘Dual-use’ items are goods, products or technologies that are normally used for civilian applications but may have military or Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) related applications.

For an analysis on Lessons-Learned from the Euroturbine Case see an article by ACSS at:

https://sanctionsassociation.org/lessons-from-the-euroturbine-case-global-trends-and-enhanced-due-diligence-essential-to-safeguard-your-business/


Libya sanctions

UN sanctions on Libya were first imposed in 2011, by UN Security Council Resolution 1970 and have been updated on a regular basis since then as the country has seen “proliferation of a vast amount of unchecked weapons and the economy of predation continue to be a threat to international peace and security by providing fertile grounds for traffickers, armed groups and terrorist organizations.” [Berlin Conference on Libya]

The EU has recently adopted Council Decision (CFSP) 2020/458, which renews its sanctions against Libya for 6 months. The measures impose asset freezes and a travel ban against 3 Libyan nationals.

EU has also decided to conduct naval patrols to enforce the arms embargo at the Berlin Conference on Libya in January 2020 and in February 2020. It was agreed to conduct maritime operations - Operation Irini (Greek - "peace”), replacing Operation Sophia, to patrol and enforce the UN Security Council arms embargo in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea, a region where there have been repeated violations - see the links below:

For Humanitarian Exemption Requests see reference

  • Patrols and monitoring

See para 21: “strengthening current monitoring mechanisms by the UN and competent national and international authorities, within our capabilities, including maritime, aerial and terrestrial monitoring, and through the provision of additional resources, in particular satellite imagery.”

https://www.politico.eu/article/eu-launches-naval-mission-to-police-libya-arms-embargo/

  • Violations of the arms embargo

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/av/world-africa-52037533/turkey-sends-secret-arms-shipments-into-libya

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-libya-security-un/after-libya-arms-embargo-breaches-un-security-council-warns-countries-to-stop-idUSKBN1Y627Y

  • EU Policy

Council Regulation (EU) 2016/44 of 18 January 2016:

Available at: https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/PDF/?uri=CELEX:32016R0044&from=EN

The Berlin Conference on Libya, 19 January 2020:

And https://www.bundesregierung.de/breg-en/news/the-berlin-conference-on-libya-1713882


Safer

UN Security Council resolution 2511 was adopted on 25 February 2020, extended the original resolution 2140 of 2014. It authorized a one-year extension of the asset freeze and travel ban imposed in 2014 on individuals or entities threatening peace, security and stability in Yemen. It also reaffirmed the arms embargo imposed in April 2015 on militias of Ansar Allah (also known as the Houthis).

Significantly, the Security Council emphasized the environmental risks and called for the “urgent” access by UN officials to inspect and maintain the oil tanker, Safer. The tanker, built in 1976, is moored off Yemen’s main port of Al Hudaydah in the Houthi-controlled North of Yemen and is used to store oil from the inland oil fields for export.

This is available at: https://www.securitycouncilreport.org/un-documents/yemen/

Specific mention of the tankers shows that the international community is particularly concerned that “the tanker could rupture, causing an environmental disaster in the Red Sea” area. The Houthis are accused of denying the UN access to the tanker. See also:

http://www.xinhuanet.com/english/2019-12/17/c_138638603.htm

https://edition.cnn.com/2019/07/23/middleeast/yemen-tanker-oil-spill-explosion-intl/index.html