Philippines seizes North Korean Ship

The Philippines says it has seized a North Korean ship in line with tightened UN sanctions targeting the country’s nuclear programme.

Deputy presidential spokesman Manolo Quezon said the Philippines has to do its part to enforce the sanctions.

The Jin Teng is one of 31 ships operated by North Korean firm Ocean Maritime Management, which is subject to an asset freeze and sanctions.

It is currently docked in Subic Bay and is unloading palm kernels.

New UN sanctions were imposed after North Korea’s recent nuclear and ballistic missile tests.

They include mandatory inspections of all cargo going to or from the DPRK.

The Philippines government says it will impound the Jin Teng and eventually deport the crew.

Safety issues were reportedly found during an inspection of the vessel by the Philippine coast guard on Friday.

Coastguard spokesman, Cpmmander Armand Balilo said a second inspection took place on Saturday.

He said the crew of 21 had been very cooperative.

Ocean Maritime Management was blacklisted by the UN Security Council in 2014 after one of its ships was seized in July 2013 near the Panama Canal with Cuban weapons hidden under sugar sacks.

It was accused last year of renaming and reflagging its vessels to evade asset freezes.

The Jin Teng was sailing under a Sierra Leone flag.

Pyongyang reacted to Wednesday’s sanctions by firing six short-range missiles into the sea.

Leader Kim Jong-Un later ordered that the country’s nuclear weapons should be ready for use at any time.