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US sanctions 2 Russian shippers for oil transfers to North Korea

The US Treasury Department sanctioned 2 Russia-based shipping companies.

US sanctions 2 Russian shippers for oil transfers to North Korea

Washington, August 22 - Neftegaz.RU. According to Platts, the US Treasury Department on August 21 sanctioned 2 Russia-based shipping companies and 6 vessels for involvement in banned ship-to-ship oil product transfers to North Korea.

Treasury officials cited the sanctions during 2 separate hearings in the US Senate, where lawmakers are considering additional sanctions on Russia that could hamper oil and gas flows, upstream investment and access to debt.

Treasury named Vladivostok, Russia-based shipping companies Primorye Maritime Logistics and Gudzon Shipping, the registered shipowners and managers of Russia-flagged merchant vessel Patriot. The Patriot conducted 2 ship-to-ship oil transfers for North Korea in early 2018, moving 1,500 tons to North Korea-flagged Chong Rim 2 and 2,000 tons to Chon Ma San, Treasury said.

Both North Korean vessels are blocked by US and UN sanctions. The oil buyer was North Korean company Taesong Bank, which is also subject to US and UN sanctions. Treasury banned 5 other Russia-flagged vessels in which Gudzon owns interest: Neptun, Bella, Bogatyr, Partizan and Sevastopol.

Earlier this year, the US unveiled sanctions aimed at the illegal trade of petroleum products, coal and other goods with North Korea. In February, President Donald Trump said the sanctions were the heaviest ever imposed on a country. The sanctions were aimed at preventing North Korea and others from evading international prohibitions on trade through various methods, including ship-to-ship transfers outside of ports.

North Korea operates a fleet of 24 tankers capable of engaging in ship-to-ship transfers of refined petroleum products and other banned goods, according to Treasury.

The UN Security Council last year banned all condensate and natural gas liquids supplied to North Korea and limited exports of refined products to 2 million barrels for 2018. The resolution barred UN members from exporting more crude to North Korea than they exported over the previous 12 months.

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