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North Korean ships not flying Tanzanian flag, official says

October 19, 2016 - 8:57 AM

DAR ES SALAAM, Tanzania - Tanzania on Wednesday denied allegations that some North Korean ships have been flying Tanzania's flag in violation of international sanctions on Pyongyang.

Abdullah Hussein, the director-general of the Zanzibar Maritime Authority, called the allegations "void." He said Tanzania abides by U.N. resolutions that target North Korea with sanctions over its nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles programs.

NK News, a research and analysis group, reported on its website this month that nearly 50 vessels owned by or linked to North Korea have changed their flag to the Tanzanian one since March.

The ships are thought to be registered by the Tanzania Zanzibar International Register of Shipping under the Zanzibar Maritime Authority.

Tanzania has been taking action, including deregistering all vessels deemed to be contravening international sanctions after allegations in 2013 that some Iranian ships carried the Tanzanian flag, Hussein said.

North Korea, which held its latest nuclear test last month, has been accused by a U.N. panel of experts of trying to conceal its ships' origins.

The panel's report early this year singled out North Korea's Ocean Maritime Management Company, Ltd., saying it "continues to operate through foreign-flagged vessels, name and company re-registrations, and the rental of crews to foreign ships," despite being on the U.N. sanctions blacklist since July 2014.

Early this year, the U.N. Security Council unanimously approved the toughest sanctions on North Korea in two decades, reflecting growing anger at Pyongyang's continuing nuclear tests and rocket launches in defiance of a ban on all nuclear-related activity.

News from © The Associated Press, 2016
The Associated Press

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