A Maldivian man has been arrested in connection with the suspected illegal transfer of goods from a Maldivian-flagged tanker to a North Korean-flagged tanker in violation of a UN Security Council resolution.
Sources say that the Maldivian was arrested early Tuesday morning. While details of the person remain unclear, it is said that he is in the oil business.
Japanese foreign ministry said in a statement that at midnight on February 24, an aircraft of Japan Maritime Self-Defence Force discovered that a North Korean-flagged tanker named “Chon Ma San” and a Maldivian-flagged tanker named “Xin Yuan 18” were found next to each other. "Following a comprehensive assessment, the Government of Japan strongly suspects that they conducted ship-to-ship transfers banned by UNSCR," the statement said.
It also said that the US government designated Chon Ma San as a vessel of sanction target against North Korea.
Meanwhile the Maldivian government denied that a Maldivian vessel was involved in the illegal transfer of good. The President’s Office said Xin Yuan 18 was not registered to Maldives.
In a separate statement the foreign ministry of Maldives said that the government is taking the matter very seriously and is conducting investigations.
“Maldivian authorities do not allow flag of convenience to foreign owned vessels to operate outside Maldivian waters, and therefore, the use of the Maldivian flag on Xin Yuan 18 is clearly a violation of the Maldivian laws and regulations.”
The ministry also said that government gives top priority to implementing UN Security Council resolutions, including those on North Korea.