International Efforts To Implement UN Security Council Resolutions on DPRK’s Illicit Shipping Activities

Washington, DC
September 22, 2018

The United States welcomes coordination on international efforts to implement UN Security Council Resolutions on North Korea’s illicit shipping activities, which prohibit ship-to-ship transfers of any goods or items to or from North Korean vessels of any goods or items going to or coming from North Korea.

The United States applauds the recent announcements from Japan, Australia and New Zealand regarding monitoring and surveillance activities to detect UN-prohibited illicit North Korean maritime activities, with a particular focus on detecting and disrupting ship-to-ship transfers of refined petroleum to North Korean tankers in the East China Sea. We are pleased that this coordinated, multinational initiative includes these countries, along with Canada, France, and the United Kingdom. As part of this effort, we are sharing information and coordinating efforts to ensure that UN Security Council Resolutions are implemented fully and effectively. In support of this initiative, the United States has deployed aircraft and surface vessels to detect and disrupt these activities.

North Korea continues to regularly employ deceptive tactics to evade UN sanctions. Accordingly, UN Member States are required to prohibit persons or entities subject to their jurisdiction from engaging in ship-to-ship transfers of refined petroleum. In addition, the United States will not hesitate to impose sanctions on any individual, entity, or vessel supporting North Korea’s illicit activities, regardless of nationality.

The United States and international partners remain committed to achieving the final, fully verified denuclearization of North Korea and believe the full enforcement of North Korean-related UN Security Council Resolutions is crucial to a successful outcome. The international community must continue to enforce and implement UN Security Council Resolutions until North Korea denuclearizes.

Additional information for ships, ship owners, and entities involved in ship-to-ship transfers on the risks of working with the DPRK shipping industry is detailed in the February 23 Advisory on “Sanctions Risks Related to North Korea’s Shipping Practices”, which can be found at