The United Nations North Korea sanctions committee has newly banned four ships from entering ports around the globe, the head of a U.N. panel said Monday following a briefing he gave to member states.
"This is the first time in U.N. history that four ships have been designated by the 1718 committee" after the latest sanctions resolution against North Korea was adopted on Sept. 11, panel coordinator Hugh Griffiths told reporters.
He also pointed to the significance of implementing a port ban, rather than an assets freeze or travel ban -- meaning that the vessels "are banned from all ports."
He was referring to the committee by its official name after resolution 1718 -- the first sanctions measure that was imposed on North Korea following its first underground nuclear test in 2006.
Of the four ships, Tong San 2 is the only one flagged to North Korea, according to Vessel Finder, a tracking system that provides information on ships' locations. It also described Petrel 8 as flying under the flag of Comoros, while Jie Shun is under Cambodia and Hao Fan 6 under Saint Christopher and Nevis.
Griffiths did not disclose what the ships are suspected of carrying, but confirmed they were carrying "prohibited items."
Under the terms of the most recent U.N. resolution, North Korea is not allowed to import natural gas, liquids and condensates, nor is it allowed to export textiles. Prohibitions on authorizing new permits to North Korean workers to work abroad are also in place.
Under the chairmanship of Italy, which currently heads the 1718 committee, two open meetings have been held this year so far to keep member states apprised of the latest sanctions resolutions.
In addition to informing member states about the four new designations, Griffiths also pointed to concerns about sanctions evasions that seem to be continuing, particularly with regard to the export of coal. North Korea is already banned from exporting coal, along with lead, iron and seafood products.
Since 2006 Pyongyang has conducted six underground nuclear tests, all in violation of multiple council resolutions. The latest resolution followed the sixth test in early September.