UN blocked ship was not flying Palau flag

UPalau International Ship Registry clarifies that M/T Kingsway (ex-name: M/T Billions 18) (IMO:9191773) that was recently blocked from international ports under UN sanctions on North Korea, was not registered under the Palau flag at the time of its alleged violations but during the questionable period was sailing under the previous flag.

Recently, there were some media reports that one of the four ships blocked by UN was flagged under Palau. It has been wrongfully stated that the said vessel was Palau registered when it was reported for violating DPRK (North Korea) sanctions. During the alleged period, the said vessel was not operating under Palau flag and only provisionally registered as part of the Palau International Ship Registry (PISR) fleet on Friday 8th December 2017 while the vessel was in Taiwan and until today the vessel has not left Taiwanese waters.

Panos Kirnidis, CEO of PISR, said the vessel only became part of the Palau fleet after a detailed vetting procedure was completed prior the registration of the ship under Palau flag.

“There have been totally erroneous reports in the media that M/T Billions 18 was operating under a Palau flag when it was alleged that it violated DPRK (North Korea) sanctions by breaking the international ban on trading with DPRK. We only accepted the vessel into the PISR on 8th December 2017 under the name M/T Kingsway changing flag in Taiwan from Panama to Palau and since then the vessel has not  left Taiwanese waters. PISR has the highest operating standards for all vessels registered to fly the Palau flag and before we accepted M/T Kingsway (ex M/T Billions 18) into the Palau registry it underwent a strict vetting process through the Office of Foreign Asset Control (OFAC) database and the current UN resolutions. During the registration process and until today, the ship has not been listed in OFAC, UN, EU, or HM Treasury sanction lists; even more the allegations for violations of the sanctions came to Palau Registry recently and after the provisional registration of the ship.

Once these procedures had been processed the ship then became part of the Palau fleet. The suggestion that under the original name of M/T Billions 18 the vessel allegedly broke UN sanctions while flying the Palau flag is totally untrue. As stated above, at that time it was registered with the flag previous and not that of Palau.

We have the strongest commitment to maritime safety and security and this extends to the observation of all international regulations concerning vessels operating under the Palau flag. As a responsible member of the United Nations International Maritime Organisation (IMO) we have always operated under the codes and regulations defined.

Therefore, upon the recent media reports PISR withdrew the registration documentation from the subject ship.”