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Maldives denies role in suspected breach of UN sanctions against North Korea

Colombo: The Maldives on Thursday denied that an oil tanker registered to the troubled Indian Ocean archipelago was involved in breaching UN sanctions against North Korea.

File image of Maldives president Abdulla Yameen. Reuters

File image of Maldives president Abdulla Yameen. Reuters

The office of President Abdulla Yameen said a tanker spotted by a Japanese military patrol about 220 kilometres (136 miles) off Shanghai at the weekend was never registered in the Maldives. Japanese authorities on Tuesday reported a fresh suspected sanctions violation after spotting an apparent cargo transfer between North Korea's Chon Ma San and the Maldive-flagged Xin Yuan 18.

The two tankers were moored alongside each other on the high sea with their lights on.

The Maldives denied the ship's Maritime Mobile Service Identity number was registered in its jurisdiction.

"The government of Maldives assures that the... vessel named 'Xin Yuan 18' was never registered in the country," Yameen's office said in a statement.

The president is embroiled in a bitter power struggle with his opposition that has plunged the Maldives, a popular holiday destination, into crisis.

Last month he imposed a state of emergency in the Maldives and arrested top judges and high profile dissidents in an effort to head off his impeachment.

Updated Date: Mar 01, 2018 21:28 PM

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