N. Korean cargo ship seized by U.S. arrives in American Samoa
PAGO PAGO, American Samoa — A North Korean cargo ship seized by the U.S. because of suspicion it was used to violate international sanctions arrived Saturday at the capital of this American territory.
The Wise Honest was slowly towed to the port of Pago Pago during a cloudy Saturday morning and docked at the main docking section of the port that afternoon.
The trip from Indonesia took about three weeks and American Samoa, in the South Pacific, was chosen because of “its central strategic location,” U.S. Coast Guard public affairs officer Amanda Wyrick said.
“We also have a good strong relationship and partnership with the American Samoan government,” Wyrick said. “With that being said, we also already have the resources that are able to ensure the security of the vessel but most importantly the Port of Pago Pago.”
The ship was detained in April 2018 as it traveled toward Indonesia. Justice Department officials announced Thursday that the U.S. had seized the ship.
Asked as to how long the ship will be in the territory, Wyrick said the U.S. Department of Justice is “leading the investigation so they will be conducting that. Upon the conclusion of the investigation, the ship will be moved.” But the next destination is unknown, she said.
U.S. officials made the announcement of the ship’s seizure hours after North Korea fired two suspected short-range missiles toward the sea, the second weapons launch in five days and a possible signal that stalled talks over its nuclear weapons program are in trouble.