ACTORS TRYING TO REFLAG NORTH KOREAN SHIPS IN EFFORTS TO EVADE INTERNATIONAL SANCTIONS – AND PANAMA LINKS

In the second report of its Project Sandstone, this article from RUSI uncovers further links between Chinese nationals involved in the Jie Shun incident and North Korea’s illicit networks.  This second report looks at Fan Mintian, Dong Changqing and Zhanq Qiao – 3 Chinese nationals who have appeared in the UN Panel of Experts investigations into North Korea’s sanctions evasion activities and several other reports linking them to flag registries, and oil, coal and iron ore smuggling networks.  Both Fan and Zhang were also described as key players in the Jie Shun incident by the Panel of Experts.  The report indicates that Chinese nationals with close links to North Korea’s illicit shipping networks have acted as surveyors for vessels registered under the Panamanian flag – and possibly the Mongolian flag – thereby potentially providing an avenue for North Korean-linked vessels to obtain flags of convenience and other maritime services prohibited under UN Security Council resolutions.  It is also said to reinforce the conclusion that several individuals with extensive links to North Korea’s illicit shipping networks have operated across a wide number of roles in the maritime industry, from directly owning and managing vessels, to the provision of international safety management services, as well as flagging and certification services required to operate a foreign-flagged vessel in international waters.  Fan Mintian and another man worked as authorised officials for Panama Maritime Documentation Services, an organisation empowered by the Panamanian Maritime Authority to conduct surveys and certification of Panamanian-flagged vessels.

https://rusi.org/sites/default/files/project_sandstone_sailors_of_panama_final_for_web.pdf

https://rusi.org/publication/other-publications/project-sandstone-report-2-sailors-panama

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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