AmericasDry Cargo

North Korean ship in Mexico at centre of legal tussle

A South Korean family is trying to get the right to sell a North Korean vessel in Mexico as part of restitution for money it is owed for the death of one of their family members in the so called Hermit Kingdom.

Kim Dong-sik, a 53-year-old pastor, was abducted by North Korean agents in China in 2000 and can be presumed dead, a US court ruled in April. It ruled that Pyongyang should pay $330m to Kim’s family, who are US citizens.

The Mu Du Bong ship is seen as a way to get a first installment on this payment. The ship has been held by Mexican authorities since last July when it smashed into some coral reefs in Mexican waters.

On Tuesday the Kims’ lawyers said they would appeal after a Mexican court declined to consider their petition to place a lien on the ship, which would give them the legal right to seize it.

“We want to get the boat into our hands and sell it, and put the money towards the judgment against North Korea,” said Nitsana Darshan-Leitner, the family’s lead lawyer.


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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