PortandTerminal.com, October 10, 2019
North Korea’s second-largest cargo ship, the Wise Honest, which was seized by the US last May and has been sold for scrap. The proceeds will go to compensate the families of some of the victims of the brutal regime’s torture, murder and false imprisonment.
SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA – The North Korean cargo ship seized by U.S. authorities last May has been sold and is now undertow from American Samoa, the Coast Guard announced.
The 17,061-ton, single-hull bulk carrier M/V Wise Honest was sold on orders of a U.S. federal judge to compensate the families of victims of the North Korean regime – Otto Warmbier and Kim Dong-shik.
Warmbier was the American student who was arrested by North Korean authorities for attempting to steal a propaganda poster on a trip in 2016 and sentenced to 15 years of hard labor. He was returned to the U.S. in a vegetative state with severe brain damage and died shortly after. Kim, a Christian missionary, was abducted by North Korean agents in China in 2000 and taken across the border where he was believed to have died.
Courts in the U.S. have awarded judgments against North Korea in both cases and the Southern District of New York Federal Court had the ship sold at auction.
Wise Honest was seized by U.S. officials for violating international sanctions and held at the port of Pago Pago, American Samoa.
The Department of Justice “uncovered North Korea’s scheme to export tons of high-grade coal to foreign buyers by concealing the origin of their ship, the Wise Honest. This scheme not only allowed North Korea to evade sanctions, but the Wise Honest was also used to import heavy machinery to North Korea, helping expand North Korea’s capabilities and continuing the cycle of sanctions evasion,” the DoJ said in a statement at the time.
Since it was seized, the Coast Guard has been responsible for the ship.
“At various times over the five months, the Coast Guard conducted safety and security patrols in and around the ship with teams from Maritime Safety and Security Team Honolulu, Sector Honolulu, USCGC Joseph Gerczak (WPC-1126), USCGC Walnut (WLB-205), and the Marine Safety Detachment in American Samoa,” read a statement from the service.
Given the age and condition of the ship (North Korea’s second-largest in their merchant fleet), it’s likely it was sold for scrap.
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