The Philippines says it has seized a North Korean ship in line with tightened UN sanctions targeting the country’s nuclear programme.

Deputy presidential spokesman Manolo Quezon said the Philippines “has to do its part to enforce the sanctions”.

The Jin Teng is one of 31 ships operated by North Korean firm Ocean Maritime Management, which is subject to an asset freeze and sanctions.

It is currently docked in Subic Bay and is unloading palm kernels.

New UN sanctions were imposed after North Korea’s recent nuclear and ballistic missile tests.

They include mandatory inspections of all cargo going to or from the DPRK.

 

The Philippines government says it will impound the Jin Teng and eventually deport the crew.

Safety issues were reportedly found during an inspection of the vessel by the Philippine coast guard on Friday.

A second inspection took place on Saturday, coastguard spokesman Commander Armand Balilo told AFP news agency.

He said the crew of 21 had been “very cooperative”.

The United Nations Security Council unanimously approves sanctions against North Korea at the UN headquarters in New York (02 March 2016)The vote against North Korea at the UN Security Council was overwhelming

Ocean Maritime Management was blacklisted by the UN Security Council in 2014 after one of its ships was seized in July 2013 near the Panama Canal with Cuban weapons hidden under sugar sacks.

It was accused last year of renaming and reflagging its vessels to evade asset freezes.

The Jin Teng was sailing under a Sierra Leone flag.

Pyongyang reacted to Wednesday’s sanctions by firing six short-range missiles into the sea.

Leader Kim Jong-Un later ordered that the country’s nuclear weapons should be “ready for use” at any time.