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Get your terms straight, folks!

From OFAC:

Guidance to Address Illicit Shipping and Sanctions Evasion Practices


The U.S. Departments of State and Treasury, and the U.S. Coast Guard, issued a global advisory to alert the maritime industry, and those active in the energy and metals sectors, to deceptive shipping practices used to evade sanctions, with a focus on Iran, North Korea, and Syria.  The advisory includes a detailed set of best practices for private industry to consider adopting to mitigate exposure to sanctions risk. 
The advisory updates and expands upon previous advisories issued by the U.S. government. It is intended to provide actors that utilize the maritime industry for trade with information on and tools to counter current and emerging trends in sanctions evasion related to shipping and associated services.  The advisory highlights common deceptive shipping practices used with respect to countries like Iran, North Korea, and Syria.

From the State Department:

The U.S. Department of State, the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), and the U.S. Coast Guard issued a global advisory to alert the maritime industry, and those active in the energy and metals sectors to deceptive shipping practices used to evade sanctions, with a focus on Iran, North Korea, and Syria.  The advisory includes a detailed set of best practices for private industry to consider adopting to mitigate exposure to sanctions risk.  The deceptive shipping practices discussed in this report may create significant sanctions risk for individuals and entities involved in these industries.

The advisory updates and expands upon previous advisories issued by the U.S. government. It is intended to provide actors that utilize the maritime industry for trade with information on and tools to counter current and emerging trends in sanctions evasion related to shipping and associated services.  The advisory highlights common deceptive shipping practices used with respect to countries like Iran, North Korea, and Syria.

The advisory also includes best practices for different sectors of the maritime and energy industries, including global commodity traders, maritime insurers, financial institutions, ship owners and flag registries, and others, to assist in their due diligence and mitigation of sanctions risk.  Additionally, the advisory provides information about U.S. and United Nations sanctions relevant to the maritime industry, including a non-exhaustive list of activities for which persons could be sanctioned by the U.S. government.  The United States remains committed to disrupting shipping activities by malign actors worldwide—including sanctions evasion and smuggling—which may facilitate criminal activity and threatens international peace and security.

In the OFAC world, “advisory” and “guidance” mean very different things. “Guidance” generally tells you how you are expected to interpret various aspects of regulation – for example, the 50 Percent Rule is guidance. “Advisory” is different – it’s an information document that instructs on a particular area of interest and provides areas of particular concern in the hope that firms will take unspecified action (but some action) to try to address the problem. It is not as prescriptive as “guidance.”

The OFAC notice and the State Department media note both include the following:

The advisory includes a detailed set of best practices for private industry to consider adopting to mitigate exposure to sanctions risk. 

So, definitely, take the advisory to heart – but treat it as an advisory, not guidance. There’s no reason to run around with your hair on fire…

I’ll put up a separate post on the actual advisory…

Links:

OFAC Notice

State Department Media Note

Sanctions Advisory

Categories: Advisories Iranian Sanctions North Korea (DPRK) Sanctions OFAC Updates Syrian Sanctions

eric9to5

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