A North Korean cargo vessel used to transport coal was seized in violation of international sanctions against the rogue regime, the U.S. Justice Department announced Thursday.
The vessel, called the Wise Honest, is one of North Korea’s largest bulk carriers used to illicitly ship coal from North Korea and deliver heavy machinery to the Hermit Kingdom, officials said. U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman said this is the first a North Korean cargo ship was seized for violating international sanctions.
“This sanctions-busting ship is now out of service,” Assistant Attorney General Demers said in a news release. “North Korea, and the companies that help it evade U.S. and U.N. sanctions, should know that we will use all tools at our disposal — including a civil forfeiture action such as this one or criminal charges — to enforce the sanctions enacted by the U.S. and the global community.
The incident comes on the same day North Korea fired two suspected short-range missiles toward the sea amid growing tension and stalled denuclearization talks with the U.S.