The United States has filed a forfeiture complaint in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia alleging that all oil aboard a Liberian-flagged vessel, the M/T Achilleas (IMO No. 9398072), is subject to forfeiture under U.S. terrorism forfeiture laws.
The 297,863 dwt Achilleas is operated by the Marinakis family’s Piraeus, Greece, headquartered Capital Ship Management Corporation.
In a complaint that looks like a text book example of the shady practices described by a guidance issued the maritime industry by the U.S. last year, the oil on the Achilleas is alleged to have been loaded as the result a scheme involving multiple entities affiliated with Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and the IRGC-Qods Force (IRGC-QF) to covertly ship Iranian oil to a customer abroad. Participants in the scheme attempted to disguise the origin of the oil using ship-to-ship transfers, falsified documents, and other means, and provided a fraudulent bill of lading to deceive the owners of the Achilleas into loading the oil in question.
The complaint alleges in part that the oil constitutes the property of, or a “source of influence” over, the IRGC and the IRGC-QF, both of which have been designated by the United States as foreign terrorist organizations. The documents allege that profits from oil sales support the IRGC’s full range of nefarious activities, including the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and their means of delivery, support for terrorism, and a variety of human rights abuses, at home and abroad.
“The forfeiture complaint filed today serves as a reminder that the IRGC and IRGC-QF continue to exert significant control over the sale of Iranian oil,” said Assistant Attorney General John C. Demers for the National Security Division. “As we have demonstrated in the past, the department will deploy all tools at its disposal to ensure that the IRGC and IRGC-QF cannot use profits from the sale of Iranian oil to fund terrorism and other activities that threaten the safety and security of all Americans.”
To get an insight into the world of AIS spoofing, fake front companies and secretive ship-to-ship transfers download the complaint.