South Korea seizes second tanker suspected of delivering oil to N. Korea

On the same day, a Chinese vessel was seen transferring oil to North Korea's Rye Song Gang 1 ship in U.S. Treasury Department's satellite images first published in the South Korean newspaper The Chosun Ilbo earlier this week, one of 30 such instances reported in three months.

South Korea has seized a second ship as part of what it describes as an ongoing effort to monitor North Korea's attempts to evade United Nations sanctions.

The vessel, named KOTI, was seized at Pyeongtaek-Dangjin port, on the west coast south of Incheon, an official told Reuters on condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the information.

South Korean authorities have seized a Panama-flagged vessel suspected of transferring oil products to North Korea in violation of worldwide sanctions, a customs official said Sunday.

The move comes after months of attempts by Trump to pally up with Russian Federation and China in a bid to win their support over North Korea.

The vessel is suspected of transferring 600 tonnes of oil to the North Korean tanker Sam Jong 2 in global waters on October 19. The Lighthouse Winmore was seized upon re-entering Yeosu on November 24, foreign ministry officials told CNN.

On Thursday, Chinese officials were forced to deny reports that Chinese ships had carried out similar trans-shipments of fuel at sea to North Korean vessels after the USA released images from satellites showing the Rye Song Gang 1 connected to a Chinese tanker by hoses.

The Panamanian tanker was banned from leaving port following a government meeting on December 21, the report said.

China denied the allegations, saying reports that it sold oil to North Korea did "not accord with the facts". "We are liaising with the Korean parties concerned to obtain further information about the incident, and will take appropriate actions as necessary", the statement said.

Security sources say Russian ships loaded with petrol have been meeting up with North Korean vessels at sea and transferring the loads.

Even though the Sam Jong 2 was not among the four banned vessels, it appears on a list of six other ships suspected of transporting illicit cargo, along with the Lighthouse Winmore.

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

  • Jon Douglas