North Korea seeks return of ship held in Mexico

Radio Free Asia reports that North Korea is planing to send a crew to take back a cargo ship held in Mexico for more than a year after it became stranded on a coral reef. Authorities in the so called Hermit Kingdom say the vessel is a site of historical significance because it had been visited by members of regime leader Kim Jong Un’s family, according to sources.

The Mu Du Bong ran aground near the northeast port city of Tuxpan in July last year. Its crew of 33 were eventually repatriated after 12 months, but Mexico has kept the ship on the grounds that is run by a blacklisted shipping firm, Ocean Maritime Management. North Korea has sanctions against it in place from the United Nations.

“The authorities are pressuring the ministry to collect the ship because it is considered a ‘revolutionary historic site’ visited by the Kim family,” a source in China with knowledge of the vessel told the radio station.

Kim Il Sung, the founder of North Korea, known locally as the Great Leader, is believed to have visited the freighter more than 30 years ago.

Sam Chambers

Starting out with the Informa Group in 2000 in Hong Kong, Sam Chambers became editor of Maritime Asia magazine as well as East Asia Editor for the world’s oldest newspaper, Lloyd’s List. In 2005 he pursued a freelance career and wrote for a variety of titles including taking on the role of Asia Editor at Seatrade magazine and China correspondent for Supply Chain Asia. His work has also appeared in The Economist, The New York Times, The Sunday Times and The International Herald Tribune.
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