Today, the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) designated four companies for operating in the oil sector of the Venezuelan economy. Additionally, OFAC identified four vessels as blocked property.
“The United States reiterates that the exploitation of Venezuela’s oil assets for the benefit of the illegitimate regime of President Nicolas Maduro is unacceptable, and those that facilitate such activity risk losing access to the U.S. financial system,” says a department press release .
“The illegitimate Maduro regime has enlisted the help of maritime companies and their vessels to continue the exploitation of Venezuela’s natural resources for the regime’s profit,” said Treasury Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin. “The United States will continue to target those who support this corrupt regime and contribute to the suffering of the Venezuelan people.”
The designated companies and vessels are identified by the department as follows:
- Afranav Maritime Ltd is based in the Marshall Islands and is the registered owner of the vessel Athens Voyager, a Panamanian flagged crude oil tanker (IMO: 9337391) that is said to have continued to lift oil cargoes from Venezuelan ports as recently as mid-February 2020.
- Seacomber Ltd is based in Greece and is the registered owner of the vessel Chios I, a Maltese flagged crude oil tanker (IMO: 9792187) said to have continued to lift oil cargoes from Venezuelan ports as recently as mid to late February 2020.
- Adamant Maritime Ltd is based in the Marshall Islands and is the registered owner of the vessel Seahero, a Bahamian flagged crude oil tanker (IMO: 9315642) said to have continued to lift oil cargoes from Venezuelan ports as recently as late February 2020.
- Sanibel Shiptrade Ltd is based in the Marshall Islands and is the registered owner of the vessel Voyager I, a Marshall Islands flagged crude oil tanker (IMO 9233789) said to have continued to lift oil cargoes from Venezuelan ports as recently as late April 2020.
As a result of today’s action, all property and interests in property of these entities that are in the United States or in the possession or control of U.S. persons are blocked and must be reported to OFAC. In addition, any entities that are owned, directly or indirectly, 50 percent or more by the designated entities are also blocked. OFAC’s regulations generally prohibit all dealings by U.S. persons or those within (or transiting) the United States that involve any property or interests in property of blocked or designated persons.
The department notes that U.S. sanctions need not be permanent; sanctions are intended to bring about a positive change of behavior. It adds that rgeUnited States has made clear that the removal of sanctions is available for individuals and entities designated under E.O. 13850, as amended, “who take concrete and meaningful actions to restore democratic order, refuse to take part in human rights abuses, speak out against abuses committed by the illegitimate Maduro regime, cease involvement in the oil, gold, financial, or defense and security sectors of the Venezuelan economy, or combat corruption in Venezuela.”