The U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) on Friday (7 October) designated two individuals and three entities for activities related to the exportation of petroleum to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), which directly supports the development of DPRK weapons programs and its military.
This action targets Singapore-based Kwek Kee Seng, Taiwan-based Chen Shih Huan, and Marshall Islands-registered company New Eastern Shipping Co Ltd, which were involved in the ownership or management of the Courageous, a vessel that has participated in several deliveries of refined petroleum to the DPRK.
The Courageous, known as the Sea Prima during much of its illicit activity, conducted UN-prohibited STS transfers with the DPRK vessels and at least one direct delivery at Nampo, DPRK.
The vessel engaged in deceptive shipping practices such as disabling its Automatic Identification System or AIS, conducting STS transfers at night and in the Korea Bay (an area determined to be high-risk for sanctions evasion), and undertaking unnecessary detours to further obfuscate its true destination or origin.
Kwek Kee Seng closely coordinated STS transfers from the Courageous to the DPRK vessels and supervised the vessel during a delivery to the DPRK. Chen Shih Huan, a business associate of Kwek Kee Seng, also assisted in the coordination of these deliveries, including payment of the Courageous crew’s salaries.
As a result, Kwek Kee Seng and Chen Shih Huan are being designated pursuant to E.O. 13810 for having engaged in at least one significant importation from or exportation to the DPRK of any goods, services, or technology.
New Eastern Shipping Co Ltd was the registered owner of the Courageous during the timeframe of the vessel’s illicit activity. New Eastern Shipping Co Ltd is being designated pursuant to E.O. 13810 for having engaged in at least one significant importation from or exportation to the DPRK of any goods, services, or technology.
Additionally, OFAC designated Singapore-registered Anfasar Trading (S) Pte. Ltd. and Singapore registered Swanseas Port Services Pte. Ltd. for being owned or controlled by, or for having acted or purported to act for or on behalf of, directly or indirectly, Kwek Kee Seng, a person whose property and interests in property are blocked pursuant to E.O. 13810.
Photo credit: U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control
Published: 10 October, 2022
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