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Jin Teng held in Philippines over North Korea connections

Jin Teng held in Philippines over North Korea connections
Sierra-Leone-flagged general cargo ship Jin Teng has been detained in the Phillippines, on suspicion of having been operated by blacklisted North-Korean firm Ocean Maritime Management (OMM).

Owned by China's Golden Soar Development, the vessel is currently being held in Subic Bay with a cargo of palm kernels and 21 North Korean crew members on board.

Philippines coast guard spokesman Commander Armand Balilo told the press: "We will probably keep it in Subic pending our request for guidance on its disposition."

According to his statement, the ship's 21 North Korean crew members "Are remaining there." 

"They have provisions of their own," said Balilo. "They won't try to escape."

“This is in compliance with the UN Security Council resolution that calls for sanctions,” said Charles Jose, a spokesperson for the Philippine foreign ministry. “The most important thing is to impound the vessel so it cannot engage in economic activity that could benefit North Korea.”

The news comes in spite of a statement last week by coast guard commander Raul Belesario, who told the Associated Press that no suspicious materials were found on board.

With the introduction of tough new United Nations sanctions banning exports of coal, iron, iron ore, gold, titanium and rare earth minerals from the DPRK, as well as imports of aviation and rocket fuel. The firm was blacklisted following its implication in a 2013 weapon smuggling operation, which involved Russian MiG fighters and missile parts.