he Philippines said on Saturday that it had seized a North Korean freight ter that was covered by harsher UN sanctions against Pyongyang over its nuclear programme.

Charles Jose, Foreign Ministry Spokesman, said in Manila that government would also deport the vessel’s 21-member crew and await the UN inspection team.

“In compliance with the United Nations resolution, the North Korean ship in Subic will be impounded and not allowed to leave the port.

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Jose said the 6,830 deadweight tonne (dwt) cargo ship, Jin Teng, was one of the first sanctioned North Korean ships to enter a foreign port since the tightened sanctions were passed unanimously by the UN Security Council on Wednesday.

Manolo Quezon, Deputy Presidential Spokesman, said 31 North Korean ships are on the list.

He said the world is concerned over North Korea’s nuclear weapons programme and as a member of the UN, the Philippines has to do its part to enforce the sanctions.

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Commander Armand Balilo, Coast Guard Spokesman, said the ship, flying a Sierra Leone flag, arrived on Feb. 27 and was unloading palm kernels.

He said the guard has sent teams to guard the ship until there was a formal order from the government, for the next line of action.
Balilo said on Friday, the coast guard barred the ship from leaving the port, citing safety deficiencies found during an inspection.

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“The inspection was conducted after the UN passed the resolution against Pyongyang.

Balilo recalled that the UN resolution said the 31 ships were “economic resources controlled or operated by Ocean Maritime Management and therefore subject to the asset freeze. (Reuters/NAN)