The U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (“OFAC”) announced that it has issued General License (“GL”) 37  (Authorizing the Wind Down of Transactions Involving Delos Voyager Shipping Ltd, Romina Maritime Co Inc, and Certain Vessels), which expires on July 21, 2020.   Additionally, OFAC issued frequently asked question (“FAQ”) 834 addressing the scope of GL 37, and designated 18 individuals, entities and vessels to the Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Entity (“SDN”) List pursuant to Executive Order (“EO”) 13850.

On November 1, 2018, President Trump issued EO 13850, which authorized the Secretary of the Treasury in consultation with the Secretary of State to block all property and interests in property of, among other things, any person:

  1. operating in the gold sector of Venezuela or the Venezuelan economy;
  2. involved in or with corruption or deceptive practices and the Venezuelan government or its projects; or
  3. materially assisting, sponsoring, or providing financial, material or technological support to persons falling into categories (1)-(2).

The EO authorized the blocking of any person owned or controlled by, or to have acted or purported to act for or on behalf of, directly or indirectly, any person blocked under this EO.

On June 18, 2020, OFAC blocked 3 individuals, 8 entities and 2 vessels, for materially assisting entities that fell under parts 1 and 2 of the EO.   Among them were Delos Voyager Shipping Ltd, the Delos Voyager vessel (collectively, “Delos”), Romina Maritime Co. Inc., and the Euroforce vessel (collectively, “Romina”).  Pursuant to OFAC’s 50% rule, entities in which Delos or Romina owns a 50% or greater interest are also blocked.

Until July 21, 2020, GL 37 authorizes all transactions and activities otherwise prohibited by the Venezuela Sanctions Regulations, 31 C.F.R. Part 591 (“VSR”) “that are ordinarily incident and necessary to the wind down of transactions involving” Delos or Romina, and entities in which Delos or Romina owns a 50% or greater interest.  FAQ 834 provides that the following activities and transactions are authorized by GL 37:

  • completion of ongoing voyages, including discharge of cargo aboard such vessels as of June 18, 2020;
  • docking or anchoring of the vessels at third-country, non-sanctioned ports;
  • transactions related to the safety and maintenance of the vessels, such as entering into contracts and paying for insurance coverage, flagging, and safety and compliance inspections; and
  • transactions related to the health and safety of any crew, including the provision and processing of wages or other employee benefits, or other provision of crewing services.

However, GL 37 does not authorize any new contracts with Delos or Romina or any debit to a Delos or Romina on the books of a U.S. account.  Non-U.S. persons are encouraged to seek guidance from OFAC if they are unable to meet the July 21, 2020 deadline for winding down their transactions with these entities.

OFAC also delisted two companies and two vessels from its SDN List after they committed to “enhanced risk-based sanctions compliance programs” and stopped their activities in Venezuela’s oil sector.