Comment on North Korean association: U.S. helping Pacific Island nations enforce North Korea maritime sanctions.

The recent article in NK Pro News which stated “Other countries in the region like Palau still appear to have DPRK associated vessels on their books …” (published 3 September 2018) is completely without foundation and fails to convey the diligence and exhaustive work Palau International Ship Registry (PISR) has carried out since these issues were raised by the United Nations in 2017.

All vessels in the Palau fleet are subject to review and compliance with all IMO regulations and we take very seriously our commitment to supporting the UN in its sanctions currently in force against the DKR.

In January this year we pointed out that  the M/T Kingsway (ex-name: M/T Billions 18) (IMO:9191773) that was 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. This is an important fact that has been overlooked and one Palau International Ship Registry needs to make once again. This was followed by media reports that in December 2017 one of four ships blocked by the UN was flagged under Palau and was reported for violating DPRK (North Korea) sanctions. It is incorrect and we reported then that during the alleged period, the vessel in question 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. We subsequently withdraw our registration from the vessel.

This vessel only became part of the Palau fleet after a detailed vetting procedure was completed prior the registration of the ship under Palau flag. But it appears that memories in these issues are long and not as clear as they should be: these erroneous reports in the media only serve to illustrate that as we at PISR check our facts before accepting a vessel into our fleet, so the media should do the same.

We have invested heavily in both technology and people to ensure that 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 following those reports, it underwent a strict vetting process through the Office of Foreign Asset Control (OFAC) database and the current UN resolutions. Our registry has an enviable reputation as one of the most innovative and fastest growing registries in the shipping world. We intend to develop our services, our fleet and build on our reputation. PISR has a total 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.

Currently PISR has registered more than 850 vessels with more than 13 million total dwt and currently the active Palau flag fleet is more than 400 ships equating to more than 4,5 million dwt. The Palau fleet is growing and as reported by ‘Fairplay’ in October 2017, PISR was the fastest growing registry in the world. We have a future and that is based on expertise, people, technology and our integrity.