WASHINGTON — Today, the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) is imposing sanctions on three entities and identifying as blocked property three vessels that used Price Cap Coalition services while carrying Russian crude oil above the Coalition-agreed price cap. These sanctions build on Treasury’s previous actions in October and November of this year and represent once again Treasury’s commitment, alongside its Coalition partners, to responsibly reduce oil revenues that the Russian government uses to fund its war against Ukraine.
“Enforcement of the price cap on Russian oil is a top priority for the United States and our Coalition partners,” said Deputy Secretary of the Treasury Wally Adeyemo. “By targeting these companies and their ships, we are upholding the dual goals of the price cap by restricting Russia’s profits from oil while promoting stable global energy markets.”
THE PRICE CAP
The United States is part of an international coalition of countries (the Price Cap Coalition), including the G7, the European Union, and Australia, that have agreed to prohibit the import of crude oil and petroleum products of Russian Federation origin. These countries, home to many best-in-class financial and professional services, have also agreed to restrict a broad range of services related to the maritime transport of crude oil and petroleum products of Russian Federation origin—unless that oil is bought and sold at or below the specific price caps established by the Coalition or is authorized by a license. This policy is known as the “price cap.” The price cap is intended to maintain a reliable supply of crude oil and petroleum products to the global market while reducing the revenues the Russian Federation earns from oil after its own war of choice against Ukraine inflated global energy prices.
On October 12, 2023, the Price Cap Coalition published a Coalition Advisory for the Maritime Oil Industry and Related Sectors (“the Advisory”). The Advisory, which is directed at both government and private sector actors involved in the maritime trade of crude oil and refined petroleum products, provides recommendations concerning specific best practices and reflects our commitment to promoting responsible practices in the industry, preventing and disrupting sanctioned trade, and enhancing compliance with the price cap.
OFAC previously published an Alert on Possible Evasion of the Russian Oil Price Cap on April 17, 2023 and Guidance on Implementation of the Price Cap Policy for Crude Oil and Petroleum Products of Russian Federation Origin on February 3, 2023.
VESSELS CARRYING RUSSIAN OIL PRICED ABOVE THE PRICE CAP
The crude oil price cap took effect in December 2022 with a cap on Russian crude oil at $60 per barrel. The vessels NS Champion, Viktor Bakaev, and HS Atlantica carried Russian Urals crude oil priced above $70 per barrel after the crude oil price cap took effect. The NS Champion, Viktor Bakaev, and HS Atlantica used U.S.-person services while transporting the Russian-origin crude oil.
United Arab Emirates-based (UAE-based) Sterling Shipping Incorporated is the registered owner of the NS Champion.
UAE-based Streymoy Shipping Limited is the registered owner of the Viktor Bakaev.
Liberia-based HS Atlantica Limited is the registered owner of the HS Atlantica.
Sterling Shipping Incorporated, Streymoy Shipping Limited, and HS Atlantica Limited were designated pursuant to Executive Order 14024 for operating or having operated in the marine sector of the Russian Federation economy. OFAC also identified the NS Champion, Viktor Bakaev, and HS Atlantica as property in which Sterling Shipping Incorporated, Streymoy Shipping Limited, and HS Atlantica Limited, respectively, have an interest.
As a result of today’s action, all property and interests in property of the persons above that are in the United States or in the possession or control of U.S. persons are blocked and must be reported to OFAC. In addition, any entities that are owned, directly or indirectly, 50 percent or more by one or more blocked persons are also blocked. All transactions by U.S. persons or within (or transiting) the United States that involve any property or interests in property of designated or blocked persons are prohibited unless authorized by a general or specific license issued by OFAC, or exempt. These prohibitions include the making of any contribution or provision of funds, goods, or services by, to, or for the benefit of any blocked person and the receipt of any contribution or provision of funds, goods, or services from any such person.
The power and integrity of OFAC sanctions derive not only from OFAC’s ability to designate and add persons to the SDN List, but also from its willingness to remove persons from the SDN List consistent with the law. The ultimate goal of sanctions is not to punish, but to bring about a positive change in behavior. For information concerning the process for seeking removal from an OFAC list, including the SDN List, please refer to OFAC’s Frequently Asked Question 897 here. For detailed information on the process to submit a request for removal from an OFAC sanctions list, please click here.