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Home » Money » North Korea just got another bulk ship. The US should seize that one too.
US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. Reuters
US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. Reuters

North Korea just got another bulk ship. The US should seize that one too.

PortandTerminal.com, March 5, 2020

NEW YORK – Last May the US seized North Korea’s second-largest cargo ship, scrapped it and then used the proceeds to compensate the families of two of the victims of the brutal regime’s torture, murder and false imprisonment.

READ: North Korean cargo ship sold for scrap to pay families of regime’s tortured victims

Those victims included the family of Otto Warmbier, an American college student who was imprisoned in North Korea in 2016. In June 2017, he was released by North Korea in a vegetative state and died soon afterwards.

Otto Warmbier shown here pleading for his life in a North Korean show trial. In June 2017, Otto was released by North Korea in a vegetative state and died soon afterwards.

The second was is the brother and son of the Rev. Dong Shik Kim, who was kidnapped, tortured and executed by Pyongyang’s agents in 2000.

Today, the New York Times is reporting (paywall) that North Korea bought a new cargo ship from Vietnam to replace the Wise Honest so that they can step-up their struggling sanctions evading business.

The 16,000-ton bulk carrier Vinalines Fortuna (IMO 9018751) was built in 1991 and has been purchased by North Korea

The 16,000-ton bulk carrier Vinalines Fortuna (IMO 9018751) was put up for sale by financially strained, state-run Vietnam National Shipping Lines in mid-2018. Thanks, Vietnam. We’ll get to you later.

READ: Port City in Profile: Nampo, North Korea

It is now known as the Tae Pyong, meaning “Peaceful,” and has been sailing under North Korea’s flag since at least January, according to shipping records. That month, it broadcast a self-identifying radio signal near the port of Nampo, North Korea’s main cargo terminal on its western coastline.

It is estimated that North Korea paid a minimum of $2.3 million for the old bulk carrier.

Why not seize and sell North Korea’s new ship as well?

Otto Warmbier’s parents, Fred and Cindy Warmbier

Otto Warmbier’s parents, Fred and Cindy Warmbier, successfully brought a case against North Korea for the death of their son. They were awarded a $500 million dollar judgement by the American federal court system.

Rev. Dong Shik Kim family also won a federal court judgement in Washington in 2015 for $330 million against North Korea stemming from the kidnapping and execution of their father and brother in 2000.

But even after each family receives their share of the proceeds from the scrapping of the Wise Honest (shown below), neither will have been paid anywhere near what the American court systems have decided they are owed – $800 million in total.

What was the Wise Honest worth as scrap?

The Wise Honest shown here in Pago Pago, American Samoa after it was seized by the U.S. Photo: Fili Sagapolutele / RNZ Pacific

You don’t need to be shipping expert to know that the 30-year old Wise Honest wouldn’t have been worth much as scrap. One estimate published in NavyTimes was that it would fetch perhaps $1.7 million dollars. Let’s be charitable and bump that up to an even $2 million.

So if each family receives half of the scrap value that means Otto Warmbier’s family are still owed $499 million. And Rev. Dong Shik Kim family in this scenario are still owed $299 million.

Collectively, the two families are still owed $798 million.

Let’s go get that other ship and show North Korea what real American justice looks like.

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