18 November 2012

Somalia: Puntland Captures North Korean Flagged Vessel Dumping Waste

Bossaso — A vessel dumping 5 thousand metric tons of cement 13 nautical miles east of the Bossaso shore was captured by Puntland Maritime Police Force (PMPF) on Friday, Garowe Online reports.

Chief of the PMPF Col. Abdirasak Diriye Farah who spoke to Radio Garowe on Saturday said that they had received intelligence that the vessel was dumping some sort of toxic in Puntland waters.

"We had received intelligence that the vessel was parked in Puntland state waters for a few days, we had caught wind of this intelligence a little late and our troops apprehended the vessel after verifying the information," said Col. Farah.

The PMPF mobilized air and coast guard support to apprehend the North Korean flagged vessel that was carrying cement from Oman.

The M.V. Daesan was carrying cement which was headed to Mogadishu but was refused by the businessmen because it had been spoiled by a water leakage. According to local sources, the businessmen were given a full refund for the spoiled goods.

The ship then headed north to the Red Sea just 13 nautical miles east of Bossaso where it began dumping 5,000 metric tons of cement in the waters not far from the coast.

The Puntland Government released a press statement on Sunday condemning the toxic dumping in Somali waters.

"Puntland condemns the illegal and environmentally destructive practice by the ship owners and the 33-crew led by Captain Mr. Ki Yun Chn," read the statement.

The Puntland government stated that the case would be brought to justice and the 33-man crew is being held by Puntland authorities in Bossaso.

Puntland authorities said that it was unclear that the vessel was dumping other waste in Puntland waters.

According to sources close to NATO, the vessel had been in Somali waters for quite some time.

The sources said that the vessel had been assisted by NATO Naval forces after they had come across the vessel suffering from engine problems which left them stuck in Somali waters.

NATO forces said at the time they did not know that the vessel was planning to dump the waste in Puntland waters.

According to maritime analysts, weak coastal capabilities have made Somali waters a dumping ground for vessels.

Despite harsh criticism by the UN Monitoring Group, Puntland's formation of PMPF has partially filled the void of nonexistent capabilities of Puntland authorities to battle illegal fishing trawlers, vessels dumping toxic waste and pirates operating in Somali waters.

The North Korean government led by Leader Kim Jung Un has not responded to the arrest of its nationals as of yet.

Garowe Online

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