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Indian Navy's guided missile destroyer INS Visakhapatnam responds as smoke rises from Marlin Luanda, at the location given as Gulf of Aden. Handout via REUTERS

Indian Navy's guided missile destroyer INS Visakhapatnam responds as smoke rises from Marlin Luanda, merchant vessel, after the vessel was struck by a Houthi anti-ship missile, at the location given as Gulf of Aden, in this handout picture released January 27, 2024. @indiannavy via X/Handout via REUTERS

U.S. Imposes New Sanctions Over Illicit Houthi Oil Trade

Mike Schuler
Total Views: 1693
June 10, 2024

The U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) is imposing sanctions on ten individuals, entities, and vessels involved in illicit oil and commodity transport, including for Houthi financial facilitator Sa’id al-Jamal’s network.

This is the seventh round of sanctions targeting al-Jamal’s network since October 2023.

Thee entities and individuals have engaged in illicit activities such as concealing cargo origins, forging shipping documents, and providing services to sanctioned vessels. The latest sanctions are part of an ongoing effort by the U.S. government to isolate and disrupt the funding of international terrorist groups, such as the Houthis.

Among those targeted are maritime shipping and financial facilitators, vessel managers and owners, and a company involved in creating counterfeit shipping documents.

Since November, the Iranian-backed Houthis have launched numerous drone and missile attacks against commercial and Navy vessels in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden in support of Hamas in the Gaza, prompting shipping lines to divert vessels around the Cape of Good Hope.

“The Houthis continue to leverage an expansive support network to facilitate their illicit activities, including hiding the origin of cargo, forging shipping documents, and providing services to sanctioned vessels,” said Under Secretary of the Treasury for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Brian E. Nelson. “As we demonstrated with our military strikes last week, the United States government is committed to disrupting and degrading the Houthis’ ability to engage in attacks against commercial shipping and naval vessels, as well as target those who seek to facilitate these activities.”

Sa’id al-Jamal, also known as “Rainbow”, is an affiliate of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and relies on a network of foreign shipping firms to sell and transport commodities to China, Syria, and other jurisdictions. UAE- and Oman-based Shark International Shipping L.L.C, under the management of John Britto Aruldhas, has been implicated in providing forged shipping documents for vessels carrying commodities on behalf of the Houthis.

India-based Rayyan Shipping (OPC) Private Limited has acted as the manager and technical operator of the sanctioned vessel OLYMPICS, which continues to carry cargo for the Sa’id al-Jamal network. Additionally, OFAC is sanctioning ‘Abdallah Najib Ahmad al-Jamal, a Yemen-based relative of Sa’id al-Jamal, who manages the network’s money laundering operations.

Finally, the OFAC has imposed sanctions on Hong Kong-based Lainey Shipping Limited and Panama-based Louis Marine Shipholding Enterprises S.A., which have been involved in transferring sanctioned cargo on behalf of the Hizballah-owned Concepto Screen SAL Off-Shore to Southeast Asia. Sandeep Singh Choudhary, the master of the vessel LA PEARL, which also operates under the name ELITE, has been designated as well.

Sa’id al-Jamal was previously sanctioned on June 10, 2021, for his material support to the IRGC’s Qods Force, which itself was designated on October 25, 2007, for providing support to multiple terrorist groups.

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