United Nations slaps global port ban on ships for N. Korea sanctions violations

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The Security Council North Korea sanctions committee, which operates by consensus, agreed at the request of the United States, to blacklist the ships on October 3 for "transporting prohibited items from the DPRK" (North Korea), according to documents seen by Reuters on Tuesday.

According to Mr. Griffiths, of the ship "was carrying prohibited goods".

AFP quotes a "source close to the matter" who says the four ships were found to be carrying banned coal, seafood, and iron ore.

The Japan Times reported that United Nations diplomats confirmed that a North Korean envoy was present at the meeting but did not participate.

A United Nations diplomat, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the four blacklisted ships and the four vessels still being investigated had been linked to illicit trade in North Korean coal.

The 193 United Nations member states are now required to prohibit port entry to the Comoros-flagged Petrel 8, St. Kitts and Nevis-flagged Hao Fan 6, North Korean-flagged Tong San 2 and Cambodia-flagged Jie Shun.

According to MarineTraffic, a maritime database that monitors vessels and their moments, Petrel 8 is registered in Comoros, Hao Fan 6 in St. Kitts and Nevis, and Tong San 2 in North Korea.

North Korea has for years has been accused of evading worldwide sanctions to fund everything from its nuclear program to the lavish lifestyles of Pyongyang's biggest players. "But it's a port ban", said Hugh Griffiths, a U.N. Security Council coordinator, adding the ships were found "transporting prohibited goods". Sanctions were expanded last month to include the export of textiles and North Korean guest workers, as well as a cap on 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.

Its plan is to further isolate the regime of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un diplomatically and cut off its access to the global financial system in the hopes that it will eventually put its nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles on the negotiating table in exchange for sanctions relief.

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