U.S. authorities have seized a North Korean cargo vessel for allegedly violating U.S. and U.N. sanctions by transporting coal from the east Asian country.
The Justice Department’s National Security Division said in a statement Thursday the ship was approaching U.S. territorial waters after it was first confiscated in April 2018 by foreign maritime authorities in Indonesia.
“This sanctions-busting ship is now out of service,” said Assistant Attorney General for National Security John Demers.
The ship, known as the “Wise Honest,” is one of North Korea’s largest bulk carriers, the statement said. The seizure is the first time the U.S. has taken possession of a North Korean cargo vessel for violating sanctions.
U.N. sanctions monitors said the vessel was transporting 25,000 tons of coal valued at $3 million when it was detained last year. North Korea also used the ship to deliver heavy machinery.