May 16, 2020
In its newly released Global Maritime Advisory (GMA), the U.S. government has advised the world’s shipping lines to be vigilant about “Iran’s, North Korea’s and Syria’s deceptions”.
The new advisory, prepared by the U.S. Department of State, the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), and the U.S. Coast Guard, and published on Thursday, May 14, is a global guide to alert the maritime industry, and those active in the energy and metals sectors to deceptive shipping practices used to evade sanctions, with a focus on Iran, North Korea, and Syria.
Warning shipping companies that might seek loopholes to circumvent U.S. sanctions, the new advisory has provided useful information and ways for private shipping companies to keep them away from possible sanctions.
In several parts, the new guide has directly named Iran, North Korea, and Syria as countries that are taking various steps to skip the U.S. and international sanctions.
“The advisory also includes best practices for different sectors of the maritime and energy industries, including global commodity traders, maritime insurers, financial institutions, ship owners and flag registries, and others, to assist in their due diligence and mitigation of sanctions risk”, the guide says.
Washington officially withdrew from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) or Tehran’s 2015 nuclear deal with world powers on May 8, 2018, and re-imposed batches of economic sanctions on the clergy-dominated Islamic Republic of Iran.
Since then, in addition to imposing sanctions on some Iranian shipping companies or those affiliated with the Islamic Republic abroad, several foreign shipping companies have also been subject to U.S. sanctions for their oil dealings with Tehran.
The publication of the new guide has coincided with reports saying that several Iranian oil tankers are on their way to Venezuela.
In the last ten days, several U.S. officials have said that the Islamic Republic is providing aid to Venezuela, including in the refinery sector. Venezuela, in return, has delivered a gold consignment that was taken to Tehran by air, the officials have maintained.