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OFAC Releases Advisory to the Maritime Petroleum Shipping Community

The US Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) has widened its global sanctions net, issuing an advisory on 20 November 2018 to “alert persons globally to the significant US sanctions risks for parties involved in petroleum shipments to Syria”.

In its commitment to disrupt illicit financial transactions and other support to the Syrian government, those found to be facilitating “financial transfers, logistics, or insurance associated with these or other petroleum shipments” will be at risk of being targeted by US sanctions.

All parties engaged in maritime trade including financing banks, insurers, shipping companies, bunker providers & flag administrations need to take heed of this new stance by the US regulatory authorities included in this OFAC advisory notice.
In yesterday’s release, OFAC listed examples of deceptive shipping practices used to ship petroleum to Syria.
• Falsifying cargo and vessel documents
• Ship to Ship (STS) Transfers
• Disabling Automatic Identification System (AIS)

Risk Mitigation Measures

OFAC has also listed measures which can potentially mitigate the risk of engaging in prohibited activity or processing prohibited transactions.
• Strengthen Anti-Money Laundering/Countering the Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) compliance
• Monitor for AIS manipulation
• Review all applicable shipping documentation
• Clear communication with international partners
• Leverage available resources
OFAC has also included a list of 35 vessels that, whilst not designated, are determined have delivered petroleum products to Syria and are now deemed as high risk.

How can Pole Star help?

At Pole Star, we have built technologies to make maritime trade compliant and safe.
With the US treasury and other regulators globally focusing more extensively on maritime trade, the need to keep at pace with an ever increasingly complex sanctions landscape is now vital. Our multi-award winning PurpleTRAC technologies can help protect your company, your staff, and your reputation.

PurpleTRAC regtech systems have been designed with and for companies with regulatory exposures in maritime trade and shipping, and are now used by many major international trade financing banks, international trading companies, governments and flag administrations and maritime insurers around the world.

Our new innovations in the regtech sectors for maritime compliance can be configured to an individual clients’ requirements, enabling them to automate, streamline and record their regulatory process generating an all-important audit trail for demonstration of best efforts in compliance. Our system includes best in breed data and watchlist configurations from our partners at IHS and Dow Jones, in one simple web based system that is easy to use and install in either user interface or API format. The platform allows users to input just one field of data, namely the vessel’s IMO number or name, and can screen ships, their ownership and benefactors and trading patterns in seconds. Users are also able to track vessels using our unique hybrid AIS & Inmarsat satellite technologies and monitor for any changes to the regulatory status of owners and benefactors related to the vessel.


In near real-time, PurpleTRAC:

• Screens any vessels’ ownership and management against 1400 global sanctions lists.
• Screens the ownership and managements’ countries of origin, domicile and control.
• Monitors vessels using hybrid AIS and Inmarsat tracking technologies and records vessel movement history
• Monitors owners and benefactors for any change in regulatory status
• Creates tamper resistant, automated auditable reports for demonstration of compliance
• Offers 24/7 customer support
• Free trails available

To find out more about PurpleTRAC and what it can do for you, contact us.