North Korea Sanctions Hit Global Cargo Shipping

 10 Aug 2017 10.37am

Global shipping services providers and ports in the US, Russia, Iran, Syria, and China, for example Dandong and Dalian, have been caught up in the US’s latest offensive on North Korean trade, analysis has found.

Global shipping and ports industries must step up their monitoring of North Korean cargoes accordingly to avoid being hit by sanctions, leading law firm Holman Fenwick Willan (HFW) told PTI.

Congress aimed to punish three countries for doing things the US dislikes through the Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act, signed into law on August 2, 2017.

With the move it sought to counteract Russian meddling in US elections, Ukraine and Syria and build-up of weapons including missiles by Iran and North Korea.

US President Trump must impose sanctions on people who knowingly, directly or indirectly, provide significant amounts of fuel, supplies, bunkering services or facilitate a significant transaction or transactions to operate or maintain a vessel owned by ‘designated’  or sanctioned persons tied to North Korea. 

He must also impose sanctions on persons who knowingly, directly or indirectly, insure, register, facilitate the registration of, or maintain insurance or a registration for, a vessel owned or controlled by the Government of North Korea.

Trump is in some cases required to sanction anyone who buys from or sells to North Korea, for example buyers of minerals like coal, iron or iron ore. Also impacted are suppliers of crude oil, petroleum products or LNG.

Trump is now also obliged to create and maintain a document listing global sea ports that don’t inspect North Korean ships as UN resolutions require or tranship larger amounts of cargo owned by 'designated' persons.

In the new report, Trump must analyse Pro-North-Korean activity at certain ports and airports in the US, China, Iran, Russia and Syria, including the ports of Dandong, Dalian, plus potentially any other ports in China.

This includes the Iranian ports of Abadan, Bandar-e-Abbas, Chabahar, Bandar-e-Khomeini, Bushehr Port, Asaluyeh Port, Kish, Kharg Island, Bandar-e-Lenge, Khorramshahr and the Russian ports of Nakhodka, Vanino, and Vladivostok.

Additionally, the Syrian ports of Latakia, Banias and Tartous will be scrutinized.

He will also assess how far foreign ship registers have gone to de-register any vessel owned, controlled or operated by or on behalf of the North Korean Government.

His report will pinpoint vessels owned or controlled by the North Korean political group, Reconnaissance General Bureau of the Workers' Party of Korea.  

The Act also forbids North Korean ships from operating in US waters or transferring cargo in any port under US jurisdiction. 

Departmental officials in charge of the US Coast Guard, together with the Secretary of State, must maintain records of non-complying vessels in the Federal Register.

Restrictions on such ships transiting US waters do not affect the "right of innocent passage or the right of transit passage as recognized under international law".

HFW Partners Sarah Hunt, Daniel Martin, Anthony Woolich and Associate Felicity Burling in a statement said: “Ports and terminals around the world will need to monitor carefully whether vessels or cargo requesting their services have any connection with North Korea, have been designated under US or UN sanctions or are operated by persons who are so designated, and should avoid transactions or investment which involve North Korea.”

Commenting separately, British Insurer Steamship Insurance Management Service said:  “There are wide ranging sanctions against North Korean cargo and shipping, targeting particularly provision of insurance and other services to vessels owned or controlled by the North Korean Government, purchase of coal, iron or iron ore, and certain metals and minerals from North Korea, supply of petroleum products including crude oil and natural gas to North Korea, significant transactions in North Korea’s transportation, mining, energy or financial services industries, goods produced by North Korean convict or forced labour, and foreign persons employing North Korean forced labourers.”

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