Chinpo Shipping Company was fined a total of $180,000 on Friday (Jan 29) for transferring funds that could reasonably have been used to contribute to North Korea's nuclear programme and for running a remittance business without a valid licence.
The company paid a Panamanian shipping agent $72,000 (£50,000) for the passage of North Korean ship the Chong Chon Gang through the Panama Canal
The arms shipment was hidden under more than 10,000 tonnes of sugar. The Chong Chon Gang was stopped while navigating the Panama Canal
, by officials who suspected it was being used to smuggle drugs.
"The haul, hidden under heaps of sugar and discovered by Panamanian authorities, was the biggest load of arms and related materials ever to be intercepted on its way to or from the isolated North," say local media reports.
The company had been found guilty last month of contributing to the nuclear-related programs or activities of North Korea and of running a remittance business without a valid license for more than four years.
In delivering the sentence, District Judge Jasvender Kaur said the fine had to act as general deterrence due to "strong public interest in preventing any breaches of United Nations sanctions
"It conducted no due diligence. Such irresponsible actions must be deterred," the judge said.
The ship was managed by North Korean company Ocean Maritime Management (OMM), a long-time client of Chinpo, which is in the ship agencies and chandlers business.