US says North Korea breached sanctions cap through STS transfers

The US has accused North Korea of breaching a UN sanctions cap on refined petroleum by making undeclared ship-to-ship transfers, between ships at sea, said Reuters citing documents it had seen.

In a complaint submitted on July 12th to the UN Security Council North Korea sanctions committee, the US demanded an immediate end to all sales of the fuel.

The US said that, as of May 30th, 89 North Korean tankers had brought in refined petroleum products illicitly obtained in ship-to-ship transfers this year.

Although the US did not accuse any countries of illicitly providing North Korea with refined petroleum it did mention one case of a ship-to-ship transfer involving a Russian-flagged ship and another involving a Belize-flagged ship.

Last December the UN Security Council capped refined petroleum product exports to North Korea at 500,000 barrels a year, down from the previous limit of 2m barrels a year.

Only Russia and China have reported legitimate sales of some 14,000 tons of refined petroleum to North Korea in 2018.

The US provided a list to the Security Council committee of the 89 North Korean tankers and a few select photos, which Reuters said it had seen.