North Korea Launching Ferry Service to Russia

Lucy Hill
May 20, 2017

Moscow, May 18 The first ever ferry service linking Russian Federation and North Korea was launched today, the company operating it said, hoping to serve tourists and North Korean workers.

Vladimir Baranov, director of the company that operates the Man Gyong Bong boat serving the route, said potential passengers included "North Koreans coming to work in Russian Federation and tourists from northern China who miss the sea because they don't have their own".

It arrived in Vladivostok on Thursday at 8 a.m., Russia's state-run Tass news agency reported. China has no ports on the sea of Japan, so travelling to North Korea and on to Vladivostok is the quickest way of reaching Vladivostok by sea."It's our business, of our company, without any state subsidies, involvement and help", Mikhail Khmel, the deputy director of Investstroytrest, the Russian Federation firm operating the ferry, told reporters at the port.

The Man Gyong Bong was built in the "hermit kingdom" in 1971 and was previous year chartered by RosKor and is owned by the Russian company InvestStroyTrest.

North Korean ferry Man Gyong Bong-92 anchors at the central pier of the Niigata port, 250 kilometres (155 miles) north of Tokyo, 04 September 2003.

Khmel said the vessel will make the return sailing on May 19.

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A Russian firm, InvestStroiTrest, is operating the ferry from the North Korean port of Rajin.

Despite UN sanctions ristricting North Korea due to it's nuclear program, it's expected that Chinese tourists will likely use the ferry service - which boasts a restaurant, bars and a karaoke room - to travel between North Korea and Russian Federation, according to BBC News.

The Mangyongbong used to regularly shuttle between Japan and North Korea. The photograph showed a plaque with an inscription in Korean which, she said, bore the name of North Korea's long-dead founder Kim Il Sung.

The Mangyongbong was in service between the North and Japan before Japan suspended its operations in 2006 after a North Korean missile test.

Russia's close economic links with North Korea date back to the Cold War, when they were ideological allies hostile to the West.

Other reports by TheDailyFarc

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