Yesterday, cargo and passenger ferry service began traveling to port city Vladivostok, Russia with a new ferry service from Rason, North Korea.
The North Korean-flagged Man Gyong Bong 92 (Mangyongbong – IMO: 8890580) arrived in Vladivostok, Russia on May 18, 2016 for the first time.
Built in 1992, the Man Gyong Bong 92 ro-ro passenger ferry is 413 feet long. Man Gyong Bong 92 sailed with approximately 40 passengers aboard on the overnight sailing. She arrived the next morning around 0800 hours at Vladivostok.
Man Gyong Bong 92 has a capacity of 200 passengers, plus 1,000 tons of cargo, has sauna facilities, a restaurant, bars, slot machines and a karaoke room for her passengers. The cost is $87-$101 per passenger.
Man Gyong Bong 92 was named after a hill near the capital of Pyongyang, North Korea. The ferry was built with funds from Chongryon, the pro-Pyongyang General Association of Korean Residents in Japan, and was initially used to transport passengers and cargo between North Korea and Japan.
The 1992 ferry has had few upgrades since 1992. So, as seen, the ferry cruise ship passenger sleeping quarters, leave much to be desired for privacy and comfort.
The UN sanctions on North Korea ban:
all trade in weapons
all trade in nuclear-related technologies
trade in rocket or aircraft fuel
North Korean sales of coal, iron, iron ore and other metals
various financial operations by Pyongyang
sales of luxury rugs, jewels and yachts to North Korea.
The UN sanctions on Russia:
In July 2016, President Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry reaffirmed that the U.S.’s Ukraine-/Russia-related economic sanctions will remain in effect unless Russia fulfills its obligations under an agreement reached in February 2015 in Minsk. Also in July 2016, the European Union (“EU”) extended its economic sanctions on Russia.
However, the two sanctioned countries can trade back and forth between themselves and there is no way to accurately monitor or control which internationally legal or illegal goods they may trade with each other via Man Gyong Bong 92.
Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS)
SOLAS is an international maritime treaty which requires Signatory flag states to ensure that ships flagged by them comply with minimum safety standards in construction, equipment and operation. North Korea is a signator to SOLAS.
Apparently, dumping into the sea is acceptable, however. Unlike, cruise ships in the west who respect SOLAS, North Korea ships have different standards.
Video: Ferry service opens between North Korea and Russia