Connect with us

Maritime

US Gov’t Confirmed as Owner of Seized North Korean Bulker

Published

on

US Gov’t Confirmed as Owner of Seized North Korean Bulker

The US Department of Justice has announced the entry of a judgment of forfeiture regarding Wise Honest, a North Korean bulk carrier which allegedly violated the US sanctions.

As explained, the October 21 judgment of forfeiture confirmed the US Government’s ownership of the ship.

The 17,061-ton Wise Honest, one of North Korea’s largest bulk carriers, was used “to illicitly ship” coal from North Korea and to deliver heavy machinery back to the country, according to the US DOJ.

“This order of forfeiture sinks the Wise Honest’s career as one of North Korea’s largest sanctions-busting vessels,” John C. Demers, Assistant Attorney General for National Security, commented.

​“Today’s (October 21) judgment of forfeiture finalizes the U.S. government’s seizure of the Wise Honest and officially takes this North Korean vessel out of commission,” Geoffrey S. Berman, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, said.

“It will no longer be used to further a criminal scheme. Using the full set of tools at our disposal, we will continue to investigate and prosecute attempts to evade U.S. sanctions, including by the North Korean regime.”

The shipments were carried out from at least November 2016 through April 2018 by Korea Songi Shipping Company, an affiliate of Korea Songi General Trading Corporation. Songi Trading, a subordinate of the Korean People’s Army, was designated by the Department of the Treasury, Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) for its involvement in the sale, supply, or transfer of coal from North Korea.

Also read:  USCG: Tanker Crew Member Evacuated off Midway Islands

On or about March 14, 2018, the Wise Honest was loaded with coal in Nampo, North Korea. Two weeks later, foreign maritime authorities intercepted and detained the Wise Honest. Maritime regulations require vessels like the Wise Honest engaged in international voyages to operate an automatic identification system (AIS) capable of providing information about the vessel to other ships and coastal authorities. However, despite its March 2018 voyage from North Korea, the Wise Honest had not broadcast an AIS signal since August 4, 2017.

​Participants in the Korea Songi Scheme attempted to conceal the Wise Honest’s DPRK affiliation by falsely listing different countries for the Wise Honest’s nationality and the origin of the illicit coal in shipping documentation.

What is more, payments for maintenance, equipment and improvements of the Wise Honest were made in US dollars through unwitting US banks. This conduct violated US law and United Nations Security Council resolutions.

In May, a civil forfeiture complaint was filed against the bulker which had previously been seized by the US authorities. Following the detention, North Korea demanded the return of its cargo ship, claimed that the US committed “an unlawful and outrageous act” by dispossessing the country’s cargo ship by forcibly taking it to Samoa.

 

World Maritime News

Health and Safety

MMA Customs Intercepts N5.7b Ammunition, Tramadol, Others

Published

on

The Murtala Muhammed Airport command of the Nigeria Customs Service has, in its anti-smuggling drive intercepted offensive items with duty paid value of N5.794 billion.

The seized items include fifty pieces of 9mm live ammunition which was discovered in a joint examination conducted by the service and the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA).

The Area Controller of the command, Comptroller Muhammed Sani Yusuf disclosed this at a press conference in his office on Monday.

According to him, other first-quarter seizures in the command are 1,164kg of sea cucumbers, 58kg of donkey genitals and 17 packages of Tramadol.

He noted that all the seized items contravened some of the provisions of the extant laws as enshrined in the Nigeria Customs Service Act 2023. 

Three persons, he said, were arrested in connection with the seizures.

The command also achieved an increase of 111.7 per cent in its revenue collection in the first quarter of 2024 when compared to the revenue generated during the same period in 2023.

Comptroller Yusuf stressed that despite certain challenges, the command collected N45,232,483,528.00 between January and March this year against N21,362,752,676.44 generated in the corresponding period of last year.

The controller stated that this year’s first quarter collection is N 23,869,730,851.56k higher than 2023 first quarter collection which is a 111.7 per cent increase.

On stakeholder engagement, the controller noted that the command has maintained its open-door policy and resolved a lot of issues of common interest with concerned stakeholders.

Yusuf thanked critical stakeholders, sister agencies and the media for their collaborative efforts and synergy while carrying out the command’s statutory mandate in the state.

He also expressed his appreciation to the Comptroller General of Customs, Bashir Adewale Adeniyi MFR and his management team for their continued support as well as officers and men of the command.

The controller enjoined his men to remain focused and steadfast in discharging their assigned responsibilities.

Continue Reading

Maritime

RAMADAN IFTAR: Customs CG Hosts Bigwigs, Calls for National Unity

Published

on

RAMADAN IFTAR: Customs CG Hosts Bigwigs, Calls for National Unity

…In-Line with Ramadan Teachings

The Comptroller-General of Customs, Bashir Adewale Adeniyi MFR, on Tuesday, 2 April 2024, urged Nigerians to embrace the teachings of Ramadan, reiterating that only through eschewing bitterness, accommodating one another, and living with one another in peace and harmony can people achieve a prosperous country.

CGC Adeniyi made this revelation during the breaking of the 23rd Ramadan fast with the Chairman of the Trade Modernization Project, Saleh Ahmadu, and other distinguished personalities at the Nigeria Customs Management Estate in Abuja.

He said, “As a responsible organisation, the Nigeria Customs Service will continue to uphold the spirit of Ramadan.”

“It is not by coincidence that just a few hours ago, we as a nation, celebrated Easter – and we are approaching the end of Ramadan, another remarkable Eid. What these events tend to show us is that in this country, what unites us is far more than what divides us,” he added.

The CGC, who recounts the message of Islamic teachings about the synergy of diligence and devotion to showing love among one another during Ramadan, harps on the significance of devoting oneself to intensive prayers, giving charity and alms to the poor, and serving mankind, among other things.

“These are the basic teachings of Ramadan, and they are also the same in all religions that we know. Because I do know that there is no religion that does not emphasise bringing people together and helping the needy or giving charity,” the Comptroller-General of Customs said.

Speaking further, CGC Adeniyi also used the avenue to call on Nigerians to embrace the teachings of Ramadan in their daily activities. “We have a big social problem in Nigeria where many people are going hungry every day; so many people are fasting but don’t even know where they will break their fast due to food insecurity in the country.”

According to him, addressing the challenge of food security is a collective responsibility for all, adding, “The president is leading the charge through his various programs and policies to curb food insecurity in Nigeria.”

He also stressed the Nigeria Customs Service’s commitment to extending a generous hand to Nigerians in this trying time by implementing measures that will make food abundant to Nigerians. “I therefore enjoin all of us to eschew bitterness and accommodate one another in peace and harmony,” he added.

On his part, the representative of the Minister of Finance and Coordinating Economy, Wale Edun, Director of Finance at the Ministry of Home Finance, Aliyu Muhammad, appreciated the Comptroller-General for organising the Iftar – which, according to him, signifies the unity and diversity of Nigeria.

He re-echoed the commitment of the Finance Minister to continue partnering with the Nigeria Customs Service to implement policies that will boost the economic stability of Nigeria further.

Among the prominent figures who attended the Iftar ceremony were the representatives of the Honourable Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister of the Economy, Mr. Wale Edun, Corps Marshal of the Federal Road Safety Corps, DCM Kazeem,  Professor Tunji Ola, Chairman of the Federal Civil Service Commission, Mr Bamanga Usman, Managing Director of the Oil and Gas Authority, and members of the Trade Modernization Project team led by Chairman Saleh Ahmadu.

Continue Reading

Maritime

Q1 2024: Apapa Customs Collects N489bn As Revenue, Exceeds 2023 Figure By Over 100%

Published

on

Q1 2024: Apapa Customs Collects N489bn As Revenue, Exceeds 2023 Figure By Over 100%

…Comptroller Jaiyeoba commends stakeholders for cooperation

The Apapa Command of Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) has collected N489,614,095,022.15 as total revenue for the first quarter of 2024 , which is over a 100 per cent higher than the  N212.5billion collected same period of 2023

Customs Area Controller (CAC) of the command, Comptroller Babajide Jaiyeoba, commended the officers and port stakeholders for their cooperation towards the attainment of the laudable feat and called for sustained compliance by government and private sector stakeholders. 

The Controller reminded them that the Apapa Command of the NCS is playing a critical role towards the realisation of the N5.7tr annual target of the NCS in 2024 and as such all hands should be on deck to achieve it. 

According to him, the almost N2 trillion target the command is expected to collect in 2024 is attainable through diligently abiding by the service books of instructions like the Nigeria Customs Service Act (NCSA) 2023, government import/export prohibition lists, Common External Tariff and Federal Government approved Standard Operating Procedures (SOP)

While thanking the officers for their punctulity, diligence, and non compromise in the discharge of their responsibilities, Jaiyeoba reminded them of the CGC Bashir Adewale Adeniyi and Customs Management confidence vested in them. 

The CAC reminded them that the present customs management has created room for multiple benefits for those who operate in compliance with the rules. He stated that the recently launched AEO is one of such benefits. 

He described the command’s first quarter collection as a bold step towards the realisation of the target and reminded all port users about the importance of compliance, which, according to him, comes with multiple benefits. 

Jaiyeoba said, “I want to urge all stakeholders in Apapa Port to keep supporting us in achieving an efficient system where everyone plays by the rules to achieve smoother, seamless, and faster import/export cargo clearance.”

“Making honest declaration puts the declarant at a vantage position to have a credible reputation and enjoy the benefits that come with earned integrity such as fast track and possible migration to the authorised economic operator(AEO).”

” Such attitude of compliance saves time and money as examination officers would find the cargo less cumbersome to process and other units of the service including sister government organisations would not need to flag such cargo for seizure or arrest of the importers/exporters. The cargo gets cleared on time, and payments for penalties after demand notices are not necessary as no DN is issued on compliant import/export.”

” I will continue my weekly engagement of stakeholders at various levels to sustain the tempo of our achievements and consolidate on the gains from regular enlightenment of every member of the port community.” 

“As we step into the second quarter to end the first half of 2024, I am convinced we will do better in revenue collection, facilitate more trade through our port and prevent smuggling under any guise” the CAC said.

Continue Reading

Advertisement

Editor’s Pick

Politics