Korea holds Panama oil tanker suspected of N. Korea trade

Visitors pose in front of an ice sculpture of an intercontinental ballistic missile at the Pyongyang Ice Sculpture Festival in Kim Il Sung Square in Pyongyang North Korea in

One resolution approved in September prohibited ship-to-ship transfers, while another resolution approved last week gives member states the authority to "seize, inspect, freeze and impound" any vessel found to be providing oil through ship-to-ship transfers, smuggling coal or other sanctioned goods to North Korea.

South Korean officials seized a second ship they suspect of transporting oil products to North Korea.

An official from South Korea's Foreign Ministry said Sunday that the 5,100-ton KOTI was being held at Pyeongtaek-Dangjin port on the country's west coast.

The seizure follows that of the Lighthouse Winmore, another oil tanker which Seoul claims supplied fuel products to North Korea in October, in breach of UN Resolution 2375.

Authorities are now investigating the matter and won't disclose further details, Yonhap reported, adding the ship's crew was mostly made up of citizens from China and Myanmar, just like the Hong Kong-flagged tanker Lighthouse Winmore that was seized on Friday.

The crew of a Hong Kong-registered ship have been detained for questioning in South Korea since their tanker was impounded in November for transferring oil to a North Korean vessel and breaching United Nations sanctions, customs officials said Saturday.

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The U.S. Treasury Department released satellite images of two ships reportedly making an illegal transfer the same day.

The Hong Kong government said in a statement Friday it had noted media reports that the Lighthouse Winmore had been seized. But South Korean officials did not confirm if the Lighthouse Winmore was one of the vessels pictured.

About a week ago, a ban on almost 90 percent of refined petroleum exports to North Korea was imposed by the United Nations- a decision imposed on Pyongyang to stop it from furthering its nuclear programme.

Russian Federation denied the reports on Saturday, saying via its foreign ministry that it "fully observes fully the sanctions regime" against North Korea. The KOTI does not appear to be on the list.

CNN's Taehoon Lee reported from in Seoul, Lauren Said-Moorhouse wrote from London while Yuli Yang and James Griffiths contributed from Hong Kong.

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