Mr. George A. Gaitas, Attorney and Partner, Gaitas & Chalos, P.C, shares his predictions regarding what owners should expect in the US in the enforcement of MARPOL Annex VI regulations after Jan 1st of 2020 and, specifically, whether the US will widely implement criminal sanctions as it has done with enforcement of Annex I.
The US Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) has blacklisted a large ‘oil-for-terror’ shipping network that is directed by and financially supports the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps-Qods Force (IRGC-QF).
The owner of the Istanbul-based Ramor Group was sentenced in Federal District Court in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, to 27 months imprisonment in connection with his conviction for conspiracy to violate US sanctions by exporting specialized marine equipment from the US to Iran between 2013 to 2015.
The US is taking further action under maximum economic pressure campaign against the Iranian regime by imposing sanctions on a Chinese firm and its chief executive for knowingly purchasing or acquiring oil from Iran, violating US sanctions. The transaction took place after the expiration of China’s Significant Reduction Exception (SRE) on May 2, 2019, and was not covered by that SRE.
China dismissed a warning issued by the US Department of State not to provide services to the tanker ‘Pacific Bravo’ carrying Iranian crude oil, noting that energy deals between the international community and the Middle East nation should be respected.
The US Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control designated two companies that operate in the oil sector of the Venezuelan economy, pursuant to E.O. 13850, as amended. OFAC has also identified two vessels, which transported oil from Venezuela to Cuba, as blocked property owned by the two companies.
Italy’s PB Tankers commented on OFAC’s decision to blacklist nine ships and four companies for breaching Venezuelan sanctions. The company stated that it’s shocked and concerned in OFAC’s action, in adding the company and a number of the company’s vessels to the current sanctions list in relation to trade with Venezuela. The company said in a release yesterday it will be taking immediate steps to ensure that it is delisted as a matter of urgency.
The US announced that it has designated a further nine vessels and four owning companies for involvement in the carriage of petroleum cargoes from Venezuela to Cuba. These sanctions cone a few days after the US blacklisted two shipping firms and their vessel for allegedly transporting oil from Venezuela to Cuba.
Steamship Mutual issued an advisory note on Wednesday, April 10, warning that US Treasury’s decision on blacklisting a Greek tanker demonstrates the agency’s willingness to interpret sanctions on Venezuela broadly, beyond the literal text of its rules – with potential implications for foreign tanker operators and oil traders.
The US Department of Treasury proceeded to black listing two shipping firms and many vessels, including one Greek tanker, in light of the US sanctions on Venezuela. The two blacklisted companies are Ballito Bay Shipping and ‘ProPer In Management Inc.’ of Athens, both sharing the same address in Piraeus.
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