A British-run company based in Denmark has insured dozens of North Korean commercial vessels for years, circumventing sanctions against Pyongyang by allowing them to sail freely, a Danish daily revealed Thursday.
Between 2011 and 2016, DGS Marine, which has since ceased operations, sold insurance contracts to many North Korean boats making it possible for them to sail internationally, the newspaper reported, citing copies of these contracts. "According to our information, the number of certificates could be up to 100, which is pretty much North Korea's entire commercial fleet," Lasse Skou Andersen, one of the study's authors, told AFP.
" READ ALSO The mysteries of Benoît Quennedey, this official suspected of espionage for North Korea
Violation of international sanctions
Founded by Briton David Skinner, DGS Marine, which had no authorization to issue insurance, filed for bankruptcy shortly after the latter's death in August 2016. For Hugh Griffiths, a former UN expert, the insurer had a "key" role in North Korea's circumvention of international sanctions by allowing the transport of sanctioned goods. "Foreign exchange generated by their exports of coal, iron and oil is used to finance their nuclear and missile programs," he told Information.
The company's name appeared as the insurer of two North Korean boats in a report by a UN Security Council committee of experts in 2017, which put news journalists on the trail. According to their work, which lasted more than five years, they identified at least 29 insurance certificates issued by DGS Marine to North Korean boats, in violation of international sanctions. "These documents opened up access for boats to foreign ports, allowing them to operate," says Lasse Skou Andersen.
In 2012, the British newspaper Telegraph had already revealed that David Skinner insured Iranian tankers carrying cargoes of Syrian oil. "North Korea was not its only customer. Everything seems to show that its business model was to insure boats from sanctioned countries," said Lasse Skou Andersen.