Skuld P&I Club issues advisory
The Office of Foreign Assets Control, of the US Treasury Department, has under 31 CFR 515, amended the Cuban Assets Control Regulations following Presidential action in December 2014.
These changes include the following:
- facilitation of travel to Cuba for authorised purposes
- facilitation of travel services
- authorisation of certain remittances
- interaction by US financial institutions with Cuban financial institutions
- liberalise certain activities with regards to telecommunications
- liberalise certain export activities
US sanctions on Cuba
The US has had, for over 50 years, a number of restrictions in place that mainly affected the interaction between the US and Cuba including significant travel and other economic restrictions. While some of these are being liberalised, many are still in place.
Furthermore the US had imposed a boycott of Cuba that affected third parties, too, and specifically the shipping industry.
This boycott is known as the “180 day rule” and it provides that no vessel, be it US flagged or foreign that calls at Cuba may thereafter call at a US port for 180 days after said Cuban call. The only exception to this rule were activities specifically licenses by the Secretary of the US Treasury.
Furthermore vessels carrying Cuban goods or passengers may not enter a US port, unless also expressly authorised to do so.
This boycott remains in place.
Risk management advice
It is important to appreciate that the 180 day rule is still in force at this time, nothing has changed in this regard.
The legislation underpinning this position is within the province of the houses of Congress in the United States and cannot be changed by unilateral action of the presidential executive powers of the White House.
Until there is a substantive legislative change, members need to continue proceed on the basis that a call to Cuba may have consequences with respect to future calls to US ports.
On a lighter note, it seems that it is now possible to enjoy Cuban cigars again, for those United States citizens that can comply with the present travel regulation regime (which still limits travel significantly).
Source:The UK P&I Club