Why a N. Korea Company Renamed 93% of Its Ships
It's a bid to evade UN sanctions
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 26, 2015 1:26 PM CST
A crane loads off the Russian food aid to North Korea from a Russian ship at Nampho port Tuesday, Dec. 23, 2014 in Nampho city, North Korea.   (AP Photo/Jon Chol Jin)
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(Newser) – A North Korean shipping company has renamed 13 of its 14 ships, and there's a devious reason why, according to a new UN report. Ocean Maritime Management was last year blacklisted by the UN Security Council following a 2013 discovery of two fighter jets (among other things) hidden under a cargo of sugar on one of its ships; it was a violation of the UN arms embargo imposed in response to North Korea's nuclear and missile programs. OMM has since renamed all but one of its vessels in an attempt to evade the sanctions, along with transferring ownership to shell companies, reports the BBC and Reuters.

US Ambassador Samantha Power said that imposing a global asset freeze on OMM meant that the company would no longer be able to operate internationally. But the new report says 12 of the ships "reportedly stayed, visited, or were sighted near ports in foreign countries," and none were frozen by member states as the panel of experts recommended. The report describes OMM's global reach as a broad one, encompassing Brazil, China, Egypt, Greece, Japan, Malaysia, Peru, Russia, Singapore, and Thailand. The panel recommends blacklisting 34 OMM shell companies and five shipping executives. The UN Security Council will hold consultations on the new report today, the AP notes.
 

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