10 August 2016

North Korean ship owner slams UN, U.S over scrapping

Statement from the Mu Du Bong's manager claims sailors not working for the government

North Korean ship owner slams UN, U.S over scrapping 

The owner of the Mu Du Bong, the North Korean vessel which will be scrapped by the Mexican government issued a statement heavily criticizing the move via the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on Wednesday.

This ship ran aground in Mexico in mid-2014, but was impounded at the start of the following year by the Mexican authorities. The ship’s ownership company was sanctioned by the UN due to an earlier weapon smuggling case in Cuba.

But the statement from the ship’s manager paid little attention to the Mexican government, instead focusing on the UN sanctions which led to the seizure. The ship’s manager also seems to claim they are entitled to compensation for generations from the losses generated by the asset freeze.

“We solemnly declare that we will certainly have all spiritual and material losses and damages inflicted upon us by unreasonable US-manipulated UN ‘resolutions’ paid and have the right to claim indemnity generation after generation,” the statement reads.

The unnamed manager also says the ship was engaged in legitimate business activities, and lays the eventual blame at Washington’s door. The statement adds the Mu Du Bong’s sailors were not employed by the government.

“All members and sailors of our company who had been engaged in peaceable and legitimate non-governmental business activities have suffered untold spiritual and socio-economic losses due to the illegal ‘sanctions resolutions’ of the UNSC,” the article adds.

The statement is not the first time the ship’s manager has taken aim at the UN resolutions which call for freezing assets associated with the sanctioned Ocean Maritime Management (OMM).

But since the last denouncement issued in August, the Mexican government said it would be scrapping the ship, as the rusting vessel was becoming a safety and environmental concern.

The sanctions on the Mu Du Bong’s owners were a result one of Mu du Bong’s sister ships – the Chong Chon Gang – being caught smuggling weapons through the Panama Canal in 2013.

The subsequent investigations from the UN Panel of Experts (PoE) have linked OMM to the North Korean government’s sanctions busting activities.

The Mexican government’s announcement in April represented the first time a sanctioned North Korean ship has been frozen and scrapped.

The previous interdiction in the case of the Chong Chon Gang resulted in the vessel’s release, and more recently a vessel frozen by the authorities in the Philippines was set free after the ship was removed from a UN’s blacklist issued as part of the most recent resolution in March.

According to the NK News ship tracker the Mu Du Bong is still near in the Mexican port of Tuxpan where it ran aground, however it has not broadcast any location information since November 2014.

Source: North Korean News. 7 July 2016

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