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US slaps sanctions on half a dozen ships and companies owing to Houthi and Iran links

First targeting of Iran-linked vessels by Ofac since March puts four vessels in Ofac’s blacklist

The US has slapped sanctions on four tankers and two companies for shipping Iranian commodities on behalf of a Houthi ‘financial facilitator’ backed by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps-Quds Force. It is the first targeting of Iran-linked vessels by Ofac since March

FOUR tankers and two shipping companies have landed in the US Office of Foreign Asset Control’s (Ofac) blacklist for ties to a Houthi “financial facilitator” backed by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps-Quds Force, the first targeting of Iran-linked vessels since March. 

“The US continues to take action against the illicit Iranian financial networks that fund the Houthis and facilitate their attacks,” undersecretary of the Treasury for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Brian E Nelson said in a statement.

“Together with our allies and partners, we will take all available measures to stop the destabilising activities of the Houthis and their threats to global commerce.”

Ofac said the two blacklisted companies, UAE-based Global Tech Marine Services and Hong Kong-based Cielo Maritime, shipped commodities on behalf of a Houthi facilitator, Sa’id al-Jamal, himself sanctioned in 2021.

Cielo owns and manages the 1999 built, Panama-flagged suezmax Mehle (IMO: 9191711), Ofac said.

Global Tech manages and operates the 1999-built, Panama-flagged long range one product tanker Sincere 02 (IMO: 9226011), and operates the 2003-built, Panama-flagged aframax Fortune Galaxy (IMO: 9257010); and Cameroon-flagged panamax Molecule (IMO: 9209300), Ofac said.

The tanker quartet were used to ship Iranian commodities, according to Ofac.

The move comes amid an apparent renewed interest by Ofac in Tehran’s commodity exports following the atrocious October 7 attacks carried out by Iran-backed Hamas. It also comes less than 24 hours following the first strikes on the Iran-backed Houthis in Yemen by US and UK forces and after Iran seized the St Nikolas (IMO: 9524475), an oil tanker that was at the centre of a year-long dispute that ultimately saw the US confiscate its cargo of 1m barrels of Iranian crude oil. 

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