The United States has long maintained sanctions against Cuba which included a ban on vessels calling in US waters for 180 days after having traded to Cuba. The West of England P&I Club says that it was recently announced that this prohibition has been amended so that a wider range of non-US vessels may now call at Cuba and then proceed directly to the US.
It should be noted however that this amendment does not amount to a complete lifting of the ban. A vessel may proceed to the US after calling in Cuba only if the cargo it carried to Cuba would, had it been subject to the US Export Administration Regulations, be categorised as “EAR99” and therefore not subject to export restrictions.
To determine whether a cargo would be classified as EAR99,operators should firstly determine if the item is designated by an Export Control Classification Number on the US Commerce Control List (“CCL”).
If a cargo cannot be found on the CCL then it is most likely classified as EAR99 and a vessel is not then subject to the 180 rule. Conversely, if the cargo is on the CCL then whilst there is no prohibition on the vessel carrying and delivering it to Cuba, she will not be able to trade to US waters for 180 days afterwards, as before.
In case of doubt the Club advises operators to seek guidance. It should also be borne in mind that other provisions of US sanctions which remain in force against Cuba may mean that US insurers and reinsurers are unable to pay liabilities which involve Cuba or Cuban entities.
Further details may be found below
Source: West of England P&I Club