North Koreans were involved in construction of new Danish Navy vessel, report says

HDMS Lauge Koch. Photo: Royal Danish Navy/1. Eskadre

A Polish shipyard subcontracted for work on the hull of the Royal Danish Navy’s newest Knud Rasmussen-class patrol vessel has employed North Korean workers, according to a Danish news report.

As reported by DR, Danish shipbuilder and prime contractor Karstensens contracted the Polish shipyard Crist S.A. for work on the hull of the future HDMS Lauge Koch (P572). The Polish shipyard then worked with another subcontractor who employed North Korean workers.

According to DR, the North Korean workers were employed through a North Korean state-owned company Rungrado.

This is not the first time Crist S.A. has been connected with North Korean forced labor issues. In 2014, a North Korean welder died while working in a drydock at the yard. According to a report published by Leiden Asia Centre in 2016, two prominent Polish shipyards among a number of other companies in Poland, employed North Korean workers.

The report said both Crist and Nauta received financial support from the European Regional Development (ERD) fund, a European Union regulated and controlled fund. Within the program, Polish Industrial Development Fund in 2009 granted Crist a €37.5 million loan and acquired 2-year bonds worth around €40 million from Nauta.

Crist worked on the Danish offshore patrol vessel between 2014 and 2016. Construction on the Lauge Koch began in May 2014 and the vessel entered service with the Royal Danish Navy on September 9, 2016. HDMS Lauge Koch (P572) is the third and final ship in the Knud Rasmussen-class.

The Royal Danish Navy uses the ships for fishing inspections, search and rescue tasks and exclusive economic zone (EEZ) patrols.

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