In an unprecedented move, the U.S. government seized a North Korean cargo vessel that was allegedly used to violate sanctions placed against the North Korean government.
National security officials announced Thursday the U.S. had seized the Wise Honest, a 17,061-ton ship that is registered in North Korea.
The Wise Honest was intercepted April 2, 2018, while carrying coal from North Korea. The ship had not operated its automatic signaling system since Aug. 4, 2017, according to the Justice Department.
The ship was used to “illicitly ship coal from North Korea and to deliver heavy machinery” to the North Korean government, the Justice Department said. Payments to maintain the vessel were reportedly made in American currency routed through unwitting American banks.