South Korea Detains Cargo Ship for Alleged Sanction Violation

South Korean flags flying from lamposts
Updated Published

In a rare act, the South Korean Coast Guard has detained a merchant ship on its course, identified as the De Yi, due to its stateless status. The vessel is currently subject to an ongoing investigation.

The apprehension occurred on Saturday near Yeosu, in South Jeolla Province. Authorities intercepted the 3000-ton cargo ship amid its voyage, purportedly from North Korea to Russia, with a layover in China.

Aboard the De Yi are 13 crew members, comprising Chinese and Indonesian nationals. Initially resistant to halt, the vessel was eventually escorted by the South Korean Coast Guard to dock at Busan. There's an ongoing issue with accessing the ship's cargo hold, as the crew has not complied with requests to open it, leaving the contents of the ship a mystery.

International maritime databases do not list the De Yi under any national registry, and the ownership details of the ship remain unspecified. The ship, constructed in 2006, had its last known operations under an owner based in Hong Kong.

The South Korean Foreign Ministry has disclosed that they are thoroughly investigating the incident, working in tandem with the United States. The main suspicion is that the detained ship may have contravened UN Security Council sanctions imposed on North Korea. According to the ministry, there's a belief that the vessel had docked at North Korea's Namo port before proceeding to Shandong, China.