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South Korea seizes second ship amid North Korea sanctions row

South Korea seizes second ship amid North Korea sanctions row

South Korean officials are holding the 5100-tonne, Panama flagged tanker called KOTI in Pyeongtaek-Dangjin after deciding not to let release the vessel on December 21 to investigate further.

The seizing of the ships is part of ongoing efforts to implement U.N. Security Council resolutions on North Korea.

The Sam Jong 2 was one of four North Korean-flagged ships that were named by the United Nations on Thursday as being banned from entering foreign ports on suspicion that they are transporting goods that are prohibited under worldwide sanctions created to curtail Pyongyang's efforts to develop nuclear weapons and intercontinental ballistic missiles.

The ship can carry 5,100 tonnes of oil and has a crew mostly from China and Myanmar, Yonhap News Agency reported, adding that South Korea's intelligence and customs officials are conducting a joint probe into the vessel.

The UN Security Council has imposed three sets of sanctions on the North this year to try to stop its nuclear and missile tests.

South Korea seizes second ship amid North Korea sanctions row

The revelation comes days after South Korea said it was holding a Hong Kong-flagged ship and crew members over transferring petroleum products to a North Korean vessel in global waters in October.

The seizure follows that of the Lighthouse Winmore, another oil tanker which Seoul claims supplied fuel products to North Korea in October, in breach of UN Resolution 2375. But South Korean officials did not confirm if the Lighthouse Winmore was one of the vessels pictured.

China denied the allegations, saying reports that it sold oil to North Korea did "not accord with the facts". It didn't include even harsher measures sought by Washington that would ban all oil imports and freeze worldwide assets of the government and its leader, Kim Jong Un. Only four of the ships on the US list, the ones belonging to North Korea including Sam Jong 2 and Rye Song Gang 1, were blacklisted at a session held on Thursday, as AFP reported. The KOTI does not appear to be on the list.

One resolution approved in September prohibited ship-to-ship transfers, while another resolution approved last week gives member states the authority to "seize, inspect, freeze and impound" any vessel found to be providing oil through ship-to-ship transfers, smuggling coal or other sanctioned goods to North Korea. It is Panamanian flagged.

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