According to VOA, the Wise Honest was carrying $3 million of coal in March 2018, after loading up at Nampo Port in North Korea.
Officials said the vessel was now in US custody and on its way to American Samoa, and they're seeking a civil injunction against it.
It was the first North Korean vessel to have been impounded by America.
National security officials announced Thursday the USA had seized the Wise Honest, a 17,061-ton ship that is registered in North Korea.
Demers, in a statement on May 9, said the "sanctions-busting ship is now out of service". "North Korea, and the companies that help it evade USA and United Nations sanctions, should know that we will use all tools at our disposal - including a civil forfeiture action such as this one or criminal charges - to enforce the sanctions enacted by the USA and the global community".
The announcement was made at a time of tension between the two countries.
USA officials took control of the Wise Honest after determining it was in violation of United Nations sanctions.
"There is no connection at all between the recent activities by North Korea", said Geoffrey Berman, the USA attorney for the Southern District of NY.
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The "Wise Honest", North Korea's second largest cargo ship, was detained in April 2018 as it travelled toward Indonesia.
The monitors said Indonesia reported the ship was registered under both the flags of Sierra Leone and North Korea and that it had found "cargo documents and clearance received from a Russian cargo ship intending to conduct an STS (ship-to-ship) transfer" in waters off the Indonesian province of East Kalimantan. Payments to maintain the vessel were reportedly made in American currency routed through unwitting American banks. The move marks an escalation of U.S. government pressure on Pyongyang, even as President Donald Trump has spoken glowingly about North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.
Most of the developments concerning the two countries point to a return to animosity but the US Special Representative on North Korea Stephen Biegun is now in South Korea to discuss ways of restarting denuclearisation talks. According to a recent report from the U.N. Security Council, the proceeds help finance North Korea's nuclear weapons program.
Indonesia named a South Korean company, Enermax, as the intended recipient of the Wise Honest's coal, which was to be moved ship-to-ship in the port city of Balikpapan on Borneo island.
The United States filed its seizure warrant for the ship under seal in July 2018, but department officials said the timing of its unsealing on Thursday was unrelated to the missile launches. If the USA prevails, it will be able to sell the vessel.
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The complaint documents multiple shipments of coal delivered from North Korea to China as well as one instance where the ship was scheduled to make a stop in a Russian port, where cargo documents would be prepared to try and hide the haul's origin.
But the North Korean statement condemned the continuation of joint U.S.
"The relationship continues, but we'll see what happens", the president said.