North Korean Tanker Suspected of Identity Spoofing to Evade Sanctions

North Korean oil tanker caught disguising itself as scrapped vessel to evade sanctions, highlighting Pyongyang's deceptive tactics to continue illicit activities.

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North Korean Tanker Suspected of Identity Spoofing to Evade Sanctions

North Korean Tanker Suspected of Identity Spoofing to Evade Sanctions

A sanctioned North Korean oil tanker has been spotted posing as a scrapped freighter in what experts believe may be an attempt to evade international sanctions and continue illicit activities. The tanker, named Saebyol, was previously sanctioned by the United Nations for its involvement in illegal ship-to-ship transfers of refined petroleum products.

Recent satellite imagery shows the Saebyol disguising itself as a different vessel, the Xin Guang Hua, which was reportedly scrapped in 2020. This suggests the tanker may be engaging in an identity spoofing scheme to assume a new identity and avoid detection.

Why this matters: This incident highlights the ongoing efforts by North Korea to circumvent international sanctions through deceptive tactics like identity spoofing. It underscores the challenges in enforcing sanctions and preventing illicit activities that support North Korea's nuclear program.

Experts say this could be part of a larger effort by North Korea to evade sanctions through identity-spoofing tactics. The country has a history of using deceptive methods to continue its illicit activities, such as ship-to-ship transfers of oil and other goods.

The article also mentions other recent developments related to North Korea, including the approval for the World Health Organization and UNICEF to send disaster and vaccine aid to the country. Additionally, an American cryptocurrency researcher who was sentenced for assisting North Korea is requesting to be resentenced following the amendment of guidelines, which could lead to an earlier release from prison.

The incident with the Saebyol is not an isolated case. The article notes that another sanctioned North Korean tanker, the Nam Dae Bong, has been broadcasting from locations thousands of miles away, possibly in an attempt to conceal illicit activity.

The international community continues to grapple with North Korea's sanctions evasion tactics. Fifty-five countries have reported to the United Nations that North Korea illegally imported oil at least 87 times last year, while China and Russia dispute the claims. Allies are seeking to crack down on sanctions evasion supporting North Korea's nuclear program amid dysfunction in the UN sanctions regime.

Key Takeaways

  • North Korean oil tanker Saebyol disguised as scrapped freighter to evade sanctions
  • Experts believe this is part of North Korea's efforts to circumvent sanctions via identity spoofing
  • Another sanctioned tanker, Nam Dae Bong, broadcast from distant locations to conceal illicit activity
  • North Korea illegally imported oil at least 87 times in 2022, per UN reports
  • Allies seek to crack down on sanctions evasion supporting North Korea's nuclear program