An oil tanker that had allegedly been involved in illicit ship-to-ship transfers with North Korean vessels was seized by local authorities in Cambodia after it anchored in the latter country’s waters late last month.
The Cambodian General Commissariat of Police said the Cameroonian-flagged Courageous was taken into custody on Sunday, March 1, after investigators learned that the vessel had delivered oil to North Korean-operated ships in violation of United Nations Security Council sanctions against Pyongyang.
The tanker reportedly sailed out of Kaohsiung, Taiwan, on February 15 and arrived in the waters between the uninhabited islands of Koh Tang and Koh Poulo Wai on February 27. It then dropped anchor and remained in the area until its seizure.
The 16 crew were subsequently brought to a public prosecutor’s office in Sihanoukville and are likely to face charges.
A police official said that the authorities initially became suspicious of Courageous after the tanker spent more than 24 hours anchored in Cambodian waters without communicating any requests for authorisation to dock at the nearest port.
The crew claimed that they had not communicated any requests to the Cambodian maritime authorities since they had been awaiting new orders from the vessel’s owner.
The police have not yet provided details on the nationalities of the arrested individuals and on when the alleged oil transfers occurred.
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