North Korean shipping firm renamed ships to evade UN sanctions
North Korean shipping company Ocean Maritime Management (OMM) has tried to evade UN sanctions by re-naming and re-flagging its vessels, a UN report has said.
In July 2014, the UN Security Council blacklisted the operator after one of its vessels was found importing undeclared military equipment from Cuba.
The UN report revealed that OMM had renamed 13 of its 14 ships, and also transferred their ownerships to Shell companies in order to be erased from the blacklist database, BBC News reported.
According to AFP news agency, the report stated: "These changes are likely a strategy to evade assets freezes by member states."
According to the report, twelve ships were reportedly stayed, visited or sighted near ports in foreign countries and none were frozen by member states, The Telegraph said.
The UN has restricted North Korea from exporting and importing weapons, excluding small arms; however, the agency has found that the country is still trying to purchase items in violation of those rules.
"The panel's investigation shows that the Democratic People's Republic of Korea continues to attempt to procure or transfer items relating to its nuclear and missile programmes," the report added.
The panel of experts also criticised some UN member states for not implementing council resolutions to keep North Korea from making the violations, The Telegraph reported.