90 North Korean Soldiers Reportedly Killed in Vessel Sinking

According to South Korean intelligence sources, at least 90 North Korean soldiers were killed when a tanker sank in May 2024.

According to TvChosun which was briefed by South Korean intelligence officials, the vessel was travelling to the border area of Gangwon Province with more than 110 soldiers onboard. These soldiers were dispatched to establish a stronger border presence during escalated tensions with the South and the U.S. The ship reportedly sank due to overloading, resulting in the drowning of the 90 soldiers.

Once the ship sank, North Korean Defense Minister Kang Sun-nam  visited the site to observe the wreckage, issue directives, and quell unrest in the ranks. However, according to South Korean intelligence officials, there has been considerable unrest and backlash from rank-in-file members of the military.

According to Professor Park Won-gon of the Department of North Korean Studies, Ewha Womans University, speaking to ChosunTv, the severity of the internal backlash to the incident probably resulted in the increased provocations from the North. They believe North Korea’s political and military leaders are attempting to unite dissidents behind increased actions against the South, such as the balloon missions reported in the last three days.

North Korean media has not admitted the incident occurred.