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Russian ship possibly docked at N. Korean port, suspected of picking up weapons

Lady R cargo vessel (Vessel Finder/Released)
June 11, 2024

A Russian-registered cargo ship appeared to have visited a North Korean port in April to possibly pick up weapons and ammunition for Russia, according to analysis by The Yomiuri Shimbun.

Satellite images show the ship, believed to be the Lady R cargo vessel, docked at Rajin, located in the northeastern area of the country. It also seems that the ship had called at Vostochny Port in Russia’s far east in the same month. The cargo ship is suspected to have been used to transport weapons and ammunition to Russia, which continues its military aggression against Ukraine, in violation of U.N. Security Council resolutions on North Korea’s nuclear and missile development.

Previous analysis found that several North Korean oil tankers visited the Russian port in April. The tankers are suspected of picking up refined petroleum products which were then delivered to North Korea, even though a UNSC resolution imposes restrictions on the country’s imports of such items. The analysis indicates that the two countries are increasingly dependent on each other amid Russia’s prolonged aggression in Ukraine.

The satellite image analysis was conducted with Katsuhisa Furukawa, a former member of the U.N. panel of experts that monitored the implementation of sanctions that the Security Council imposed on North Korea over its nuclear and missile development. In the analysis, the shape and size of the ship seen in multiple satellite images of the ports were compared with images released by the specialized U.N. body International Maritime Organization and others.

The images of the ports were captured by U.S. space company Planet Labs PBC between early and mid-April. Images taken on April 2 and 3 show what appeared to be the Lady R anchored at a pier with piles of containers at Vostochny Port. Later, images taken of Rajin Port on April 14 appear to show the vessel docked there.

According to the Marine Traffic website, which provides information about vessel locations around the world, the Lady R did not activate its automatic identification system while traveling between the Russian and North Korean ports, so the ship’s movements could not be traced.


(c) 2024 the Asia News Network

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