Blacklisted North Korea ship sails near South Korea

The Orion Star, a cargo ship, was seen near the South Korean port city of Yeosu.
By Elizabeth Shim  |  March 17, 2016 at 9:49 AM
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SEOUL, March 17 (UPI) -- A blacklisted North Korean ship sailed near South Korean waters Thursday, raising questions about the effectiveness of sanctions against Pyongyang.

The Orion Star, a cargo ship, was seen sailing near the South Korean port city of Yeosu, which is located about 280 miles from Seoul, Yonhap reported.

The ship belongs to North Korea's Wonyang Shipping Corporation, which was on the list of entities sanctioned by the United Nations Security Council in Resolution 2270.

According to Seoul, the ship left from Nampo, a port city near the North Korean capital on Tuesday, and should arrive in the North Korean town of Chongjin by Sunday evening.

South Korea Coast Guard is monitoring the ship's movements and dispatched two cutters Thursday morning, local time.

Seoul said there could be about 20 North Korean crew members. The ship is believed to be transporting 3,600 tons of anthracite coal.

Since the adoption of the U.N. sanctions resolution in early March, U.N. member countries have begun either refusing North Korean ships at ports, or seizing and inspecting vessels with North Korean crew members.

The Orion Star, like other North Korean ships, has been sailing under a different flag to evade taxes and regulations.

In South Korea, the ship's presence has triggered a dispute between the Foreign Ministry and the Ministry of Public Safety and Security over an appropriate response, South Korean television network MBC reported.

The Public Safety Ministry said the Foreign Ministry should have issued a response, but the Foreign Ministry disagreed.

Another North Korean ship registered under Sierra Leone sailed near South Korean waters March 4.

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