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Houthi stand on beach after ship attack

Armed men stand on the beach as the Galaxy Leader commercial ship, seized by Yemen's Houthis last month, is anchored off the coast of al-Salif, Yemen, December 5, 2023. REUTERS/Khaled Abdullah

U.S. Sanctions Ships Linked to Iran’s Military Network

Mike Schuler
Total Views: 609
April 4, 2024

The Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) has taken action against Oceanlink Maritime DMCC as part of an effort to disrupt Iran’s ability to generate revenue for its military.

“We are focused on disrupting Iran’s ability to finance its terrorist proxy and partner groups and support to Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine,” said Under Secretary of the Treasury for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Brian E. Nelson.

The Dubai-based company has been accused of facilitating the transfer of Iranian commodities valued over $100 million on behalf of Iran’s Armed Forces General Staff (AFGS) and Ministry of Defense and Armed Forces Logistics (MODAFL). Consequently, 13 vessels managed by Oceanlink Maritime have been identified as blocked property.

The focus of the action was on the vessel HECATE, managed by Oceanlink, which was involved in a ship-to-ship (STS) transfer with another sanctioned tanker, DOVER. The transfer was done on behalf of Sepehr Energy, a company previously sanctioned by OFAC for its role in selling Iranian commodities for the AFGS and MODAFL.

The U.S. has already sanctioned several entities and vessels facilitating the Iranian-backed Houthis ability to carrying out attacks against commercial ships in the Red Sea.

“The United States will continue to use our full range of tools to target the illicit funding streams that enable Iran’s destabilizing activities in the region and around the world,” said Nelson.

OFAC also announced updates to the Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons List (SDN List). The vessel YOUNG YONG, already under OFAC sanctions, changed its name to SAINT LIGHT, possibly to obfuscate its identity. Operating under the name STELLAR ORACLE, it conducted an STS transfer with a sanctioned vessel run by the National Iranian Tanker Company (NITC), the HAWK, loading over $100 million worth of Iranian commodities.

The action against Oceanlink Maritime DMCC is being taken under the counterterrorism authority in Executive Order (E.O.) 13224.

In addition, the report exposed MODAFL’s illicit commercial activity. Oceanlink Maritime DMCC operates a fleet of over a dozen vessels involved in the shipment of Iranian commodities on behalf of Iran’s military. The company also manages several other vessels, including ANTHEA, BOREAS, CAPE GAS, GLAUCUS, OCEANUS GAS, HEBE, CALYPSO GAS, MERAKI, ELSA, BAXTER, DEMETER, and OUREA.

The Treasury Department said these vessels have all shipped Iranian commodities, some as recently as March of this year.

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