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Japan to train Pacific nations in monitoring N. Korean offshore deliveries

/ 06:10 PM January 07, 2019

TOKYO — The Japanese government is planning to begin training young administrators from Pacific island nations this year on how to crack down on “sedori,” a scheme by which oil and other products are smuggled into North Korea through ship-to-ship transfers at sea in violation of U.N. sanctions.

The government is planning to begin training young administrators from Pacific island nations this year on how to crack down on “sedori,” a scheme by which oil and other products are smuggled into North Korea through ship-to-ship transfers at sea in violation of U.N. sanctions.

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The goal of the training is to improve island nations’ ability to clamp down on the North Korea’s activities and ensure that sanctions passed by the U.N. Security Council are thoroughly enforced.

The plan is to send relevant officials from the Japan Coast Guard and experts in international law to the University of the South Pacific in Fiji, where young administrators from Micronesia, the Marshall Islands and 12 other countries would gather for three weeks of training.

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The participants would attend lectures on the provisions of international law that relate to sanctions resolutions, as well as receive training in practical aspects such as how to determine North Korean involvement in suspicious ships and methods of inspecting cargo.

The government is considering holding three or four training seminars per year for several dozen participants, and has called on the U.S. and Australian governments to send specialists and provide other assistance.

Some island nations allow foreign ships to register under “flags of convenience.”

While the sanctions state that ships involved in offshore transfers with North Korean vessels will have their registration revoked, lack of awareness, poor execution and other problems have meant that little progress has been made on this front.

In fact, a third-country vessel involved in offshore transfers with a North Korean ship was found to have changed its registration to Palau about two months later, according to a U.N. report.

Some are concerned that being able to keep sailing under an island nation’s flag makes offshore transfers easier to carry out. Instruction on proper ship management is slated to be part of the training.

North Korea is said to be getting more sophisticated in offshore transfers, such as by using small ships.

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By working with the U.S. and Australian governments to provide high-quality training, the government hopes to foster capable administrators so that the North Korea will not take advantage of island nations as “loopholes” in the sanctions.

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TAGS: Asia, Global Nation, Japan, North Korea, Pacific
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