OFAC has sanctioned 1 individual (Tsang Yung Yuan; a Taiwanese citizen), 27 entities, and 28 vessels located, registered, or flagged in North Korea, China, Singapore, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Marshall Islands, Tanzania, Panama, and Comoros. It is said that this action “will significantly hinder North Korea’s ability to conduct evasive maritime activities that facilitate illicit coal and fuel transports, and limit the regime’s ability to ship goods through international waters”. See OFAC Notice, Treasury press release and Press Briefing by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.
All 27-sanctioned entities are shipping and trading companies, 2 of which were designated for being “owned or controlled” by Mr. Yuan (who was designated in the present action for coordinating “North Korean coal exports with a Russia-based North Korean broker”, as well as being involved “other sanctions evasion activities”).
In addition to these measures, OFAC has issued a global shipping advisory to “put everyone on notice of North Korea’s illicit maritime tactics and underscore the significant sanctions risk of engaging in maritime business with North Korea”.
Today, the EU increased its sanctions against North Korea in order to align itself with UN Security Council Resolution 2397 (2017) – see previous blog here. As a result, the following measures were transposed through the adoption of Council Decision (CFSP) 2018/293 and Council Regulation (EU) 2018/285:
(i) Cap on the export of all refined petroleum products to North Korea, from 2 million barrels to 500,000 barrels per year;
(ii) Ban on imports from North Korea of food and agricultural products, machinery, electrical equipment, earth and stone, and wood;
(iii) Ban on exports to North Korea of all industrial machinery, transportation vehicles, and expansion to all iron, steel and other metals;
(iv) Further maritime restrictive measures against vessels where there are reasonable grounds to believe that they have been involved in the breach of UN sanctions; and
(v) Requirement to repatriate all North Korean workers abroad within 24 months.
Under UNSC Resolution 2397 (2017), the prohibition on the export of crude oil had already been introduced in the EU on 16 October 2017 (previous blog here), and the 16 individuals and 1 entity that were sanctioned had been implemented on 8 January 2018 (previous blog here). On 22 January 2018, the EU also imposed unilateral sanctions against a further 17 individuals (previous blog here). EU press release here.