Royal Navy frigate catches ships in violation of North Korea sanctions

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HMS Richmond (Royal Navy file image)

Posted on Sep 26, 2021 5:33 PM by

The maritime executive

On a secondary mission of his escort role for the aircraft carrier HMS queen elizabeth, the frigate HMS Richmond recently patrolled the East China Sea in search of anti-sanctions activity, according to the UK Ministry of Defense. In accordance with the experiences of the Japanese and American patrols, Richmond returned with ample evidence of foreign-flagged merchant ships trading with North Korea. These transactions were likely in violation of UN sanctions on Pyongyang’s nuclear program, according to the ministry.

Detach from HMS that of queen elizabeth Carrier Strike Group, which is currently deployed in the Western Pacific, the frigate has captured evidence of ships apparently violating UN sanctions. She also gathered updated information on other vessels of interest. Video and photographic evidence collected by that of Richmond crew were provided to the United Nations Law Enforcement Coordination Unit (ECC), which monitors illicit trade with North Korea. The short operation was the first time since 2019 that a Royal Navy ship has supported UN monitoring and sanctions activity.

“HMS that of Richmond The deployment to the East China Sea has made it possible to identify vessels acting in suspected breach of UN sanctions and to track vessels that had not previously been reported to the law enforcement coordination cell, ” Defense Secretary Ben Wallace said in a statement. “North Korea’s ambitions to acquire weapons of mass destruction destabilize the region and pose a threat to the world.”

Richmond is now in Japan for a maintenance period, and she will join the strike group shortly.

Attracted by the potential for profit, a small number of independent East Asian ship operators go to great lengths to trade oil with North Korea. Using aging small tankers, these operators take over shipments of legitimate petroleum products and then meet blacklisted North Korean tankers in the East China Sea for ship-to-ship transfers. The trade involves considerable efforts of hijacking, obfuscation and outright fraud in order to conceal the identity of vessels and their operators from port State authorities. Some operators have gone so far as to obtain false IMO registrations for their vessels, giving banned vessels a new “legal” life.


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