Close  

North Korean cargo ship seized by US arrives in American Samoa

/ 06:22 AM May 13, 2019
North Korea Cargo Ship

A view from the top of a two story building in Fagatogo village overlooking the Port of Pago Pago, as the North Korean cargo ship, Wise Honest, docks at the main docking section of Pago Pago Harbor, Saturday, May 11, 2019, in Pago Pago, American Samoa. The North Korean cargo ship was seized by the U.S. because of suspicion it was used to violate international sanctions. It arrived Saturday at the capital of this American territory. (AP Photo/Fili Sagapolutele)

PAGO PAGO, American Samoa— A North Korean cargo ship seized by the U.S. because of suspicion it was used to violate international sanctions arrived at the capital of this American territory, where it will undergo inspections.

The Wise Honest was slowly towed to the port of Pago Pago during a cloudy Saturday morning and docked at the main docking section of the port that afternoon.

ADVERTISEMENT

The trip from Indonesia took about three weeks and American Samoa, in the South Pacific, was chosen because of “its central strategic location,” U.S. Coast Guard public affairs officer Amanda Wyrick said.

“We also have a good strong relationship and partnership with the American Samoan government,” Wyrick said. “With that being said, we also already have the resources that are able to ensure the security of the vessel but most importantly the Port of Pago Pago.”

Indonesian authorities detained the ship in April 2018. Justice Department officials announced Thursday the U.S. had seized the ship.

Asked as to how long the ship will be in the territory, Wyrick said the U.S. Department of Justice is “leading the investigation so they will be conducting that. Upon the conclusion of the investigation, the ship will be moved.” But she said the next destination is unknown.

“I do know that Justice Department is going to do the investigation as fast as they can,” Wyrick added.

She said she didn’t have the exact number of U.S. Coast Guard personnel or people from other federal agencies who have traveled to American Samoa for the investigation.

“We have a marine and safety security team here from Honolulu,” Wyrick said. “We’re conducting random patrols, also conducting inspection of the vessel and the Port of Pago Pago, keep an eye on things such as security breaches or vandalization of the ship itself.”

Officials are also making sure the port is protected, she said.

“We especially in the Coast Guard, we understand the importance of the port. It’s a lifeline in getting goods to the islands,” Wyrick said. “So we want to make sure that we’re doing everything we can, to make sure that there’s absolutely no disruption to the flow of commerce coming in and out.”

ADVERTISEMENT

The U.S. government dispatched an inspection team to the ship before it docked in Pago Pago, she said. Wyrick noted there was an inspection conducted before leaving Indonesia and, because the ship has been at sea for three weeks, “it’s subject to the elements.”

“The inspection of the ship before entering the harbor is to make sure the structure integrity of the boat is still intact. In that way, once we get the thumb’s up, and the green light, and the inspectors deem it safe, then it will enter the port,” Wyrick said.

U.S. officials made the announcement of the ship’s seizure hours after North Korea fired two suspected short-range missiles toward the sea, the second weapons launch in five days and a possible signal that stalled talks over its nuclear weapons program are in trouble.

Read Next
LATEST STORIES
MOST READ
Don't miss out on the latest news and information.
View comments

Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.

TAGS: North korea, world
For feedback, complaints, or inquiries, contact us.
globalnation

‘False pride’: Palace memo on foreign aid, loans hit

September 22, 2019 05:15 AM

newsinfo

Polio blame game: PAO chief lashes back at ‘trolls’

September 22, 2019 05:10 AM

business

Ramon Ang rallies hunger champions

September 22, 2019 05:10 AM

lifestyle

It’s still paradise in Coron, despite the rains

September 22, 2019 05:10 AM



© Copyright 1997-2019 INQUIRER.net | All Rights Reserved

We use cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. By continuing, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. To find out more, please click this link.