International Group responds to US Global Maritime Advisory on Sanctions Breaches

The International Group of P&I Clubs has responded mainly positively to the May 14th Global Maritime Advisory from the US.

The Guidance updates and expands earlier advisories concerning Iran, Syria and North Korea, providing detail on the level of due diligence and other compliance related activities expected by the US Government of parties whose business activities run a risk of engaging in trades that may breach US sanctions.

It applies specifically to the sanctions’ regimes surrounding Iran, Syria and the DPRK and provides information relevant to both US and non-US companies.

The International Group said that “to the extent that the Guidance clarifies US expectations of what it considers to be good compliance practice in the maritime industry it should be welcomed”. However, it added the caveat that it was ” important to recognise that the sectors of the maritime industry targeted by the Guidance are often subject to complex domestic and international regulation that may impose conflicting requirements on a party”. The International Group noted that the resolution of such conflicts in areas such as competition law, data protection laws and international conventions such as SOLAS were not addressed by the Guidance.

IG particularly observed that problems could arise from the US guidance on the use of AIS. It said that group members could find themselves in “an onerous position”, in the sense that “ships’ AIS transmission is often lost in high density areas or where satellites fail to receive positioning data when it is in transit or in port”.

Members were therefore advised to obtain independent advice and/or consult a reputable AIS monitoring service provider before disengaging from existing contracts or declining new ventures.

IG concluded that “many will find some of the requirements difficult to comply with for both practical reasons and because in certain circumstances it runs contrary to existing legal obligations”.

Original May 14th Guidance: