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US warns oil shippers to avoid violating Syria, Iran sanctions

Washington — The US government on Monday warned the oil shipping industry to avoid violating sanctions against Syria and Iran by scrutinizing vessel histories and trading partners.

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The advisory includes a list of vessels believed to have been involved in illicit oil shipments in 2016-2018, including 51 deliveries to Syria and 33 banned ship-to-ship transfers.

"Any violations of prohibitions or weaknesses in compliance that result in sanctionable conduct exposes the shipping community to significant risks and can trigger severe consequences," the Treasury Department's undersecretary for terrorism and financial intelligence, Sigal Mandelker, said in a statement.

The alert issued by Treasury's Office of Foreign Asset Control, along with the US State Department and US Coast Guard, comes after a similar advisory last week warning the oil sector to avoid violating sanctions against North Korea.

That report said North Korea received at least 263 refined oil product deliveries from banned ship-to-ship transfers in 2018. If all of the vessels were fully laden, the shipments would amount to 3.78 million barrels, or more than seven times the annual limit that North Korea is allowed to import under UN sanctions, Treasury said.

"Despite robust US and United Nations sanctions on North Korea, North Korea continues to evade sanctions, particularly through illicit ship-to-ship transfers of refined petroleum and coal," the Treasury said.

-- Meghan Gordon, meghan.gordon@spglobal.com

-- Edited by Jonathan Dart, newsdesk@spglobal.com

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