The U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) on Thursday (3 November) blacklisted Djibouti-registered tanker Young Yong that grounded in Singapore and its owner, for activities related to an international oil smuggling network that facilitated oil trades and generated revenue for Hizballah and the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps-Qods Force (IRGC-QF).
OFAC designated this complex network of facilitators, front companies, and vessels under Executive Order (E.O.) 13224, as amended, which targets terrorists, terrorist organizations, leaders and officials of terrorist groups, and those providing support to terrorists or acts of terrorism.
The tanker was linked to Ukrainian national Viktor Artemov whom OFAC said “oversees much of this vast network of cover companies and shipping services to receive, conceal, and sell oil.”
“Artemov and his associates used their network to illegally transport Iranian oil abroad and procure funds on behalf of Hizballah and the IRGC-QF. Artemov used his companies to buy and sell oil tankers that were then used to transport blended Iranian oil on behalf of the oil smuggling network,” it said.
As of 2022, Artemov managed Ava Petroleum and used it to help sell illicit oil. Technology Bright is incorporated in the Marshall Islands and owns one vessel, the Young Yong. The captain of the oil tanker Young Yong falsified the ship’s location data, and updated Artemov and other Ava Petroleum employees on the ship’s status and its loading of approximately 1.8 million barrels of oil.
OFAC further elaborated: “Technology Bright is being designated pursuant to E.O. 13224, as amended, for having materially assisted, sponsored, or provided financial, material, or technological support for, or goods or services to or in support of, Artemov. The Young Yong is being identified as blocked property in which Technology Bright has an interest.”
Under Secretary of the Treasury for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Brian E. Nelson, said: “The individuals running this illicit network use a web of shell companies and fraudulent tactics including document falsification to obfuscate the origins of Iranian oil, sell it on the international market, and evade sanctions.”
“Market participants should be vigilant of Hizballah and the IRGC-QF’s attempts to generate revenue from oil smuggling to enable their terrorist activities around the world.”
Manifold Times previously reported the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) stating there were no signs of oil pollution from Djibouti-registered tanker Young Yong that grounded in Singapore Strait.
MPA said it was informed by the master of the tanker that it had grounded off Takong Kecil in the Riau Islands, Indonesia in the Singapore Strait at around 2020h on 26 October.
Note: The full statement by U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control can be found here.
Photo credit: Marine Traffic / Mataburung.com Burung Hantu
Published: 9 November, 2022
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