On 27 July 2020, the UK Office of Financial Sanctions Implementation (OFSI) published its Maritime Guidance providing “financial sanctions guidance for entities and individuals operating within the maritime shipping sector”. The 12-page document is key reading for those in the maritime industry, conducting business in or connected to the UK.
The Maritime Guidance comes hot on the heels of the Global Human Rights Sanctions Regulations 2020 which impose the UK’s first autonomous sanctions regime post-Brexit (see our previous client alert), deepening suspicions that the UK is likely to diverge from the EU’s sanctions position and become a more active player in this field (see our TradeWinds article for more information).
What does the Maritime Guidance cover?
The Maritime Guidance identifies a number of illicit and suspicious shipping practices. OFSI encourages parties to be aware of such practices and to ensure that compliance and due diligence procedures take account of them. The listed practices largely echo the activities identified by similar guidance issued by the UN and OFAC and so will be familiar to many operating in the maritime industry:
- Ship-to-ship transfers to conceal the origin and/or destination of cargo
- Disabling the automatic identification system (AIS)
- Cyber activity including cyberattacks
- Use of cryptoassets to avoid financial sanctions such as asset freezes
- Financial system abuse to conceal illicit activities
- False documentation, including bills of lading, invoices and insurance documents
- Action taken to conceal illicit cargo