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United Nations sanctions committee bans 4 ships from entering ports

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The ships were found "transporting prohibited goods", AFP quoted Griffiths as saying. "It's a pretty swift and decisive action by the committee", he said, describing the move as "unprecedented".

The UN representative also added that the ban came into force on 5 October, but it does not provide for the freezing of assets and ban on entry.

"This is the first time in United Nations history that four ships have been designated by the 1718 committee" after the latest sanctions resolution against North Korea was adopted on September 11, panel coordinator Hugh Griffiths told reporters.

North Korean diplomats attended the meeting where the port ban was decided upon but "did not speak".

The ship had left the North Korean port of Haeju on July 23, 2016, and was interdicted in Egyptian territorial waters south of the Suez Canal, the experts said.

The 193 United Nations member states are now required to prohibit port entry to the Comoros-flagged Petrel 8, St. Kitts and Nevis-flagged Hao Fan 6, North Korean-flagged Tong San 2 and Cambodia-flagged Jie Shun. Last month, the ban was expanded to include textiles and North Korean guest workers and also capped oil exports.

According to MarineTraffic, a maritime database that monitors vessels and their moments, Petrel 8 is registered in Comoros, Hao Fan 6 in St. Kitts and Nevis, and Tong San 2 in North Korea.

The main economic partner of North Korea, China signed the sanctions along with Russian Federation.

North Korea is under a United Nations arms embargo and the Security Council has banned trade in exports such as coal, textiles, seafood, iron and other minerals to choke funding for Pyongyang's missile and nuclear programs.

Both resolutions are aimed at increasing economic pressure on the Democratic People's Republic of Korea - the country's official name - to return to negotiations on its nuclear and missile programs. According to estimates, North Korea exports about $ 3 billion annually, the sanctions may trim $ 1 billion from this trade.

However, repeated sanctions have so far failed to deter North Korea from continuing with its nuclear and missile development programmes.