North Korea employs a fleet of ghost ships sailing around the globe to evade sanctions and buy and sell goods such as coal and oil, according to an in-depth report.
The Washington Post published a lengthy look Wednesday evening about North Korea’s actions, which involve meeting other ships in the middle of the ocean to transfer cargo, carrying and transmitting false ship identification numbers, and conducting backroom deals.
“It’s anarchy,” Hugh Griffiths, the outgoing coordinator of United Nations sanctions monitors, told the Post. “These massive gaps in maritime and financial governance will provide Chairman Kim [Jong Un] with an economic lifeline for months, if not years, to come.”
North Korea has resorted to the illicit actions because sanctions from the UN and the United States have crippled its ability to conduct international trade. Kim will meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday.
The Post report provided several examples of how Kim’s regime gets around sanctions. In many cases, ships that do business with North Korean ships are registered in countries that do not conduct full oversight, such as Panama, Togo, and Dominica — called a “flag of convenience,” according to the Post.
The UN monitors work near the UN headquarters in New York City and keep tabs on North Korean ships via photos and satellite images.
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