North Korean ships are reflagging in Tanzania

Almost 50 ships linked to North Korea have reflagged in Tanzania since March, according to NK News reports, which called the frenzied flagging “an unprecedented campaign”.

Analysis by the website, using data from, Equasis and Port State Control (PSC) inspection records, identified that around 15% of ships on the NK Pro vessel tracker now sail with under the Tanzanian flag.

The Tanzanian registry reportedly includes vessels mentioned by the UN Panel of Experts (PoE) and one ship sanctioned by the US Department of Treasury.

Other Tanzanian-flagged ships belong to companies recently struck off another shipping registry and many others are frequently seen near DPRK waters, the website said.

UN Resolution 2270 says member states must de-register any vessel that is owned, operated or crewed by North Korea, and must not register any such vessel that is de-registered by another member state. The United Republic of Tanzania has been a UN member since 1964.

Fresh sanctions were imposed on North Korea in March via UN Resolution 2270. Since then, Mongolia has announced it has removed 14 North Korean vessels from its registry. Panama has also removed vessels, according to UN sanctions implementation reports cited by NK News.

Cambodia’s ship registry has also provided flags for the North Korean fleet in the past, but the open registry was “permanently” shut down this month, according to reports. Other reports suggest the closure will not be indefinite.

Holly Birkett

Holly is Splash's Online Editor and correspondent for the UK and Mediterranean. She has been a maritime journalist since 2010, and has written for and edited several trade publications. She is currently studying for membership of the Institute of Chartered Shipbrokers. In 2013, Holly won the Seahorse Club's Social Media Journalist of the Year award. She is currently based in London.
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