South Korea seizes second tanker suspected of delivering oil to N. Korea

South Korea seizes second tanker suspected of delivering oil to N. Korea

South Korean authorities have seized a Panama-flagged vessel suspected of transferring oil products to North Korea in violation of global sanctions, a customs official said on Sunday.

Acting on intelligence provided by the U.S. - including surveillance photos of an exchange taken by satellite - South Korean customs officials boarded the vessel, the Lighthouse Winmore, when it entered Yeosu Port on November 24, Yonhap news reported.

The Lighthouse Winmore, which was chartered by a Taiwanese company and carrying around 600 tonnes of oil products from South Korea's Yeosu port, transferred part of its cargo to a North Korean vessel on October 19, the official said.

It is the second known vessel under probe by South Korea on suspicions of ship-to-ship supplies of petroleum products to North Korea, banned under the worldwide sanctions over its nuclear and missile programs.

The ship, loaded with the Japanese refined petroleum, was claimed to be heading to Taiwan.

Ship-to-ship trade with North Korea at sea is prohibited under United Nations sanctions adopted September 11.

The Seoul government announced Friday it is investigating a Hong Kong-flagged ship named the Lighthouse Winmore for allegedly transferring oil to a North Korean vessel in global waters on October 19.

"The actions will be reported to the UN Security Council sanctions committee on North Korea in the future", the official added.

A Reuters report on Friday also cited two unnamed European intelligence agencies saying that tankers operating out of the Russian Far East were also transferring oil to North Korea at sea.

It was seized and inspected by customs authorities when it returned to South Korea's Yeosu port, the official said.

Russian Federation denied the reports on Saturday, saying via its foreign ministry that it "fully observes fully the sanctions regime" against North Korea. "There will never be a friendly solution to the North Korea problem is this continues to happen!"

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