Saturday, June 20, 2009
The US Navy is reported to be monitoring the North Korean cargo ship Kangnam since it left a port in the DPRK on Wednesday. If the USN asks for permission to search the ship it could prove the first test of UN sanctions passed last week which give foreign powers the ability to search ships with their masters' permission, or to track them to a port where port state searches can be enforced. The North Korean government has said it will regard any foreign inspection of its ships' cargo as an act of war.
The Japanese parliament is due to vote on a bill giving the country's Coast Guard the same ability soon. At present, the Coast Guard is limited in its legal mandate to enforcing searches within Japanese waters.