The Diplomat on 26th September published an article saying that fraudulent ship registration makes the already challenge task of sanctions enforcement more difficult.  It says that the problem is surprisingly widespread and vastly undertreated.  It circumvents the process by which countries regulate the use of their flag for international trade.  Some countries allow foreign-owned or controlled vessels to use their flag through an open registry.  Others may choose to only register vessels with ties to the country through ownership or crewing.  This is termed a closed registry.  Still others just choose not to allow the use of their flag for international trade at all.  All can be affected by vessel identity falsification.  It goes on to say that falsification can take different forms, from a vessel continuing to claim a country’s flag after being struck from its flag registry, to manipulating the information a ship transmits to broadcast incorrect information, to an unusual and highly concerning phenomenon: the creation of fraudulent national flag registries.  Though a range of actors looking to mask illicit trade may exploit these approaches to hide their activity, North Korea is actively making use of all of these.


Author: raytodd2017

Chartered Legal Executive and former senior manager with Isle of Man Customs and Excise, where I was (amongst other things) Sanctions Officer (for UN/EU sanctions), Export Licensing Officer and Manager of the Legal-Library & Collectorate Support Section

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