MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine coast guard inspected a North Korean cargo vessel that docked at a port northwest of Manila in one of the first such checks since the U.N. Security Council imposed further sanctions on Pyongyang over its nuclear program.
The MV Jin Teng was inspected in Subic Bay, a former U.S.-run naval base, after it arrived Thursday from Balembang, Indonesia, loaded with palm kernel expeller, Coast Guard Commander Raul Belesario said Friday.
Belesario, who heads the port control division that includes Subic, said five coast guard personnel accompanied by two bomb sniffer dogs boarded the vessel Thursday. The inspectors did not find any suspicious materials but spotted minor deficiencies including missing fire hoses, a corroded air vent, and electrical switches without insulation.
Another inspection will be done before the ship sails for southwestern China's Zhanjiang port, and the ship will only be allowed to depart if the deficiencies have been rectified, he added. The vessel's departure date is unclear.
As of Friday, cargo was still being unloaded from the ship. Palm kernel expeller is a byproduct of palm oil production and has several uses, including as feed for farm animals.
The ship's documents showed the cargo was for consignees in the Philippines and no new cargo would be loaded at Subic Bay, Belesario said.
The Security Council on Wednesday unanimously approved the toughest sanctions on North Korea in two decades, reflecting growing anger at Pyongyang's latest nuclear test and rocket launch in defiance of a ban on all nuclear-related activity.
The United States and North Korea's traditional ally China spent seven weeks negotiating the new sanctions. They include mandatory inspections of cargo leaving and entering North Korea by sea or air, a ban on all sales or transfers of small arms and light weapons to Pyongyang, and expulsion of diplomats from the North who engage in "illicit activities."