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Suspicion of illegal ship-to-ship transfers of goods by North Korean-flagged tanker, and Maldivian-flagged tanker

Xin Yuan 18

At midnight on February 24, 2018, a P-3C aircraft of Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (Fleet Air Wing 1 P-3C : Kanoya) found that Chon Ma San, North Korean-flagged tanker, was lying alongside Xin Yuan 18, Maldivian-flagged tanker, on the high sea (around 250 km eastern offshore of Shanghai ) in the East China Sea.

Judging from the fact that the two vessels lay alongside each other with their lights turned on at night, both vessels could have been engaged in some type of activity. Following a comprehensive assessment, the Government of Japan strongly suspects that they conducted ship-to-ship transfers banned by UNSCR.

In February 23, 2018, the US Government designated Chon Ma San as a vessel of sanction target against North Korea. Government of Japan confirmed that Chon Ma San erased its vessel name.

Japan’s Response

Japan notified the Security Council Committee of this incident and shared information with related countries. Japan also expressed its interest to the Xin Yuan 18-related countries.

Maldives Flag vessel’s details

Following are the details of the Maldives Flag vessel’s details as per the International Maritime Organisation‘s  website:

Ship Particulars / IMO 8126082

Name: XIN YUAN 18
IMO Number: IMO 8126082
Flag: Maldives
Call sign: 8QQ2238
MMSI: 455123170


Type: Products Tanker
Date of build: 1982-03
Gross tonnage: 3,570


Registered owner: HA FA TRADE INTERNATIONAL (5952445)

Company Particulars / 5952445


IMO Company Number: 5952445
Company address: Room C, 23rd Floor, Lucky Plaza, 315-321, Lockhart Road, Wan Chai, Hong Kong, China.
Country of registration: Hong Kong, China
Company status: Active

In-Service Summary

Ships as owner: 2
Ships as operator: 2
Ships as manager: 2
Ships as group beneficial owner: 0

A prominent maritime lawyer in the Maldives says it is not the standard practice to register foreign-owned vessels in the Maldives with the Maldives Flag and Call Sign.


Full details are available at the link below:

Source URL: Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan

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