According to data from the Asia-Pacific Port State Control, the number of North Korean vessels, which underwent PSC inspections last month, stood at 17, a sharp drop from 33 in the same month last year, Voice of America said.
Of the 17, 10 were at Russian ports and seven at Chinese ports, compared with 11 and 22 a year ago, respectively, the broadcaster said.
|This file photo shows North Korean freighter Ja Ryok. (Yonhap)|
This year's figures are a big change given most North Korean ships were found at Chinese ports in previous years, the broadcaster said, adding that the ratio of their navigation to Russia relatively soared.
Such a phenomenon has something to do with the North's withered external trade amid UN punishments, the broadcaster said.
The Chinese government has suspended the imports of North Korean coal, a major source of hard currency for the Pyongyang regime, since Feb. 18 to comply with the international sanctions. The suspension lasts until the end of the year.
Citing its analysis of other data from MarineTraffic, the broadcaster said that 16 North Korean boats were spotted via the automatic identification system between Sept. 6-13. MarineTraffic provides live ship tracking intelligence worldwide.
Of them, eight were discovered off the coast of China and seven near Vladivostok, it added. (Yonhap)