15 May 2019

American Samoa compensated for dealing with North Korean ship

2:03 pm on 15 May 2019

American Samoa is being compensated by the United States government for having the North Korean freighter Wise Honest in Fagatogo harbour.

Wise Honest in Pago Pago, American Samoa

Wise Honest in Pago Pago, American Samoa Photo: Fili Sagapolutele / RNZ Pacific

The freighter was seized by the US in Indonesia and towed to American Samoa at the weekend, after it was found to be carrying coal in violation of UN sanctions.

Washington claimed it was also being used to import heavy machinery into North Korea.

KHJ News reported no information can be obtained on how much compensation is being paid.

Meanwhile, the director of Homeland Security in American Samoa, Samana Semo Veavea, said the vessel could be in American Samoa until December.

There's concern that the freighter could pose a risk if a cyclone was to hit as it would be there during the cyclone season, Samana said.

The US Coast Guard said the timeline for the vessel to remain in the territory is dependent on an investigation by the US Department of Justice.

It said the vessel will be moved from the wharf to anchor somewhere in the harbour.

There's 24/7 security for the vessel while in port and its presence provides an opportunity for local law enforcement to receive training in different scenarios, a Coast Guard spokesperson said.