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North Korean Ships Investigated for Using Fiji’s Flag

Investigations into a number of North Korean ships using Fiji flags illegally continue.

Police spokesperson Ana Naisoro said the Fiji Police Force is still investigating the illegal flag use by North Korean-linked ships and they could not comment any further about the matter.

According to NK News, the Fiji Police Force was investigating the misuse of Fiji’s flag by vessels connected with North Korea and were to press charges when they finally gathered evidence.

This was highlighted after a number of ships linked to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (North Korea) using the Fijian flag dropped between February and late March as analysis from the North Korea Pro vessel tracker showed.

NK News states that previous reports from NK Pro showed that over twenty vessels connected to North Korea’s maritime networks had begun sailing with Fijian flags.

NK News reported that the practice was known as using a flag of convenience (FOC) was common in shipping, though it is a tactic that North Korea-linked businesses and ships often use to disguise their origins and beat sanctions.

In an earlier report Maritime Safety Authority of Fiji (MSAF) stressed that it had not issued any flags, saying it was a closed registry that did not offer services to foreign ships.

MSAF then contacted the Fijian Police and the Tokyo MOU, the Port State Control (PSC) which is an organisation which oversees flagging and inspection practices in Asia.

NK News says while the number of ships using Fijian flags initially increased between January and February this year, the trend now appears to have reversed, with fewer North Korean vessels linked to Fiji by the end of March. SOURCE: FIJI SUN
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