On 27 March, NK Pro reported that, despite UN sanctions intended to stop it obtaining new or used vessels, North Korea appears to have acquired the 33-year old bulk carrier Fu Xing 12 in June 2019. This was a month after its then-largest vessel had been seized by US authorities following extended detention in Indonesia. The vessel had been sold for scrap by its Chinese owners, but has been pressed into service by the North Koreans for transporting coal. It is reported that the ship was purchased by a small business owner of health food stores for $2.4 million, and then promptly transferred into the ownership of a BVI-based company and conducted illegal coal export operations from North Korea.
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