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US Adds Sanctions To Venezuelan Oil Transporters

US Adds Sanctions To Venezuelan Oil Transporters

The U.S. Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) has placed sanctions on four companies for their alleged role in transporting Venezuelan oil in support of President Nicolás Maduro Moros' regime.

The companies included on OFAC's Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons (SDN) List are Bluelane Overseas, Tovase Development Corp. and Trocana World Inc. of Panama City, Panama, and Caroil Transport Marine Ltd. of Limassol, Cyprus. 

Additionally, OFAC sanctioned four tankers — Carlota C, Giralt, Petion and Sandino— linked to the shipping companies for allegedly transporting Venezuelan oil to Cuba.

"Maduro's Cuban benefactors provide a lifeline to the regime and enable its repressive security and intelligence apparatus," said Treasury Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin in a Sept. 24 statement. "Venezuela's oil belongs to the Venezuelan people and should not be used as a bargaining tool to prop up dictators and prolong the usurpation of Venezuelan democracy."

Since the Jan. 28 designation of Venezuela's state-owned oil company Petroleos de Venezuela, S.A. (PdVSA) to the SDN List, Cuban state-run oil importer and exporter Cubametales and other Cuba-based entities have continued to circumvent U.S. sanctions by receiving oil shipments from Venezuela, the Treasury Department said. 

Cubametales was added to the SDN List on July 3.

All property and interests in property of those entities placed on the SDN List are blocked by the U.S. government. OFAC's regulations generally prohibit all transactions by U.S. persons with those listed entities.

In addition, OFAC announced that it has removed sanctions on two shipping companies, two tankers and an aircraft.

"U.S. sanctions need not be permanent; sanctions are intended to bring about a positive change of behavior," Treasury said. "The United States has made clear that the removal of sanctions is available for persons … 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 former Maduro regime and combat corruption in Venezuela."

The delisted companies include Serenity Maritime Ltd. and Lima Shipping Corp., both of Monrovia, Liberia, and their vessels Leon Dias and New Hellas, respectively. The aircraft was identified as N133JA of Perdomo Rosales. 

OFAC designated Lima Shipping and Serenity Maritime on April 2 and May 10, respectively, for transporting oil from Venezuela to Cuba on behalf of Cubametales. Both companies have since ended their vessel charters with Cubametales and refuse new oil shipments from Venezuela to Cuba, the agency said.  

The delisted aircraft had previously operated on behalf of the Venezuelan government and is no longer associated with Perdomo, OFAC said.

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