They do so through a shifting array of tactics obscuring the ships’ links to Pyongyang. Crews use fake customs manifests and paint over hulls with false names. At sea, they turn off tracking devices to make it harder to follow the vessels or manipulate signals to convey fictitious identification. Some have succeeded in making cargo ships appear to be other countries’ boats on tracking monitors. Reviews of confidential U.N. documents and interviews with U.S. officials uncovered dozens of ships and companies that international authorities link to illegal North Korean trade. The behavior of the vessels and changes in their ownership reveal an expanding toolbox of strategies designed to keep North Korea’s shipping, and economy, afloat. International sanctions ban major North Korean exports, including textiles, seafood and coal, and limit imports of oil, all in an effort to force the country to abandon its nuclear and missile programs . But […]