Trade sanctions have long played a critical role in U.S. foreign policy.  Freehill Hogan & Mahar regularly provides advice and representation to U.S. and foreign clients on a wide variety of sanctions and compliance issues.  We advise shipowners and charterers, both U.S. and foreign, as well as a number of major international marine insurers.

The sanctions against Iran, which began to expand and escalate in 2010, have been in the forefront of our sanctions and compliance practice in recent years as new statutes and Executive Orders promulgated an ever increasing array of prohibited activities, for both domestic and foreign companies. We have counseled our clients on compliance with those sanctions, and have developed strong working relationships with the Office of Foreign Asset Control and the U.S. State Department, in order to obtain clarification and guidance as necessary.

In addition to the sanctions against Iran, we also assist our clients in navigating the U.S. sanctions relating to Cuba, Syria, Libya, the Sudan and the Ukraine.  We work with our clients to screen potential transactions in respect of the entities, cargoes and financial arrangements involved, to ensure that they do not violate the complicated U.S. sanctions regime. Several partners are experienced in this area and the following is a representative sampling of matters:

  • Securing the release of $1.6M wrongfully blocked by the Office of Foreign Asset Control in a case of mistaken identity on the U.S. Specially Designated Nationals list.
  • Representing the owner of two VLCCs in dealings with the State Department in relation to the loading of Iranian crude on the vessels by a sub-charterer using false cargo documentation .
  • Obtaining State Department confirmation of a special exception permitting the carriage of Iranian crude to Italy.
  • Drafting checklists for a major liner operator to employ in vetting cargoes booked for carriage to Iran.
  • Drafting FAQs on U.S. sanctions for a group of major international maritime insurers.
  • Securing the release of funds improperly blocked by U.S. banks.
  • Obtaining OFAC approval for the payment of the settlement of cargo damage claims by the General Trading Corporation of Iran by paying GTC’s debts for other shipments of grain.
  • Routinely advising insurers and ocean carriers regarding a wide range of cargoes proposed for carriage to or from Iran.