The US Treasury Department has sanctioned three more shipping companies based in the United Arab Emirates, accusing them of transporting Russian oil at a price above the war caps imposed by Washington and its allies.
Oil tankers SCF Mgmt FZCO, Talassa Shipping DMCC and Zeenit Supply and Trading DMCC, as well as Liberia-based NS Leader Shipping Inc., were targeted by Washington’s second enforcement action this year under the price cap regime implemented in place in 2022.
As part of efforts to deprive Russia of funds it could use in its war in Ukraine, price caps have been imposed by the Group of Seven, including the European Union, and Australia since 5 December 2022. Caps started at $60 per barrel. for Russian crude before extending it to refined products with limits of up to $100 per barrel. The ceilings for refined petroleum products came into force on February 5, 2023.
“UAE-based Zeenit Supply and Trading DMCC sold Russian Ural crude oil in November 2023 at a price above $80 per barrel which it delivered using the NS Leader vessel,” the Treasury said in a press release. “NS Leader (IMO9339301) used services provided by a covered U.S. individual during this trip.
“Zeenit and UAE-based Talassa Shipping DMCC have committed to jointly shipping several cargoes of crude oil originating from the Russian Federation using loaded vessels in Russian ports in 2023.”
The Treasury added: “NS Leader Shipping Incorporated, registered in Liberia, is the registered owner of the NS Leader, which made five calls to Russian ports in 2023.”
“The Government of the Russian Federation is the ultimate owner of the NS Leader,” the Treasury said. “UAE-based tankers SCF Mgmt FZCO have been operating the NS Leader since September 2023, including during the November 2023 voyage during which the NS Leader carried over-capped crude oil of Russian origin.
“SUN Ship Management D Ltd, sanctioned by the United States, United Kingdom and European Union, previously managed the NS Leader from April 2022 to September 2023.
“Oil Tankers SCF operates oil tankers beneficially owned by the Government of the Russian Federation through Sovcomflot, a Russian state-owned shipping company subject to Directive 3 prohibitions under Executive Order (EO) 14024,” the statement said. Treasure in reference to an adopted EO. April 15, 2021. President Joe Biden’s order established a national emergency under which Washington can seize the assets of entities engaged in business in the defense sector and other sectors of the Russian economy or surrender to security and democratic threats sponsored by the Kremlin.
“Oil Tankers SCF also manages US-sanctioned vessels Ligovsky Prospect, Kazan, NS Century, NS Champion and Viktor Bakaev, all of which have been involved in exporting crude oil of Russian origin at a price higher than 60 dollars per barrel after the price of the barrel. the cap took effect when using services provided by a covered U.S. person,” Treasury said.
At least 11 UAE-domiciled shipping companies have been announced by the United States in the past three months as being subject to price cap sanctions. These include Hennesea Holdings Ltd., as announced by the Treasury on January 18; SUN Ship and Voliton DMCC, as announced on December 20; Sterling Shipping Inc. and Streymoy Shipping Ltd., as announced December 1; Gallion Navigation Inc., Kazan Shipping Inc. and Progress Shipping Co. Ltd., as announced on November 16.
All property and interests in property owned by sanctioned fleets and located in the United States or owned by U.S. entities have now been blocked. “In addition, all entities owned, directly or indirectly, 50 percent or more by one or more blocked persons are also blocked,” Treasury said. “All transactions by U.S. persons or within (or in transit) of the United States that involve property or interests in property of designated or blocked persons are prohibited unless authorized by a general or specific license issued by OFAC. [the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control], or exempt. These prohibitions include making any contribution or provision of funds, goods or services by, to or for the benefit of any blocked person and receiving any contribution or provision of funds, goods or services from such a person.
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