…As ITF sees 10 Abandoned Kenyan Seafarers Return Home***
The Trump Administration has issued a new wave of sanctions against Iran following the escalation of tensions in the region and retaliatory missile attacks launched last week against U.S. military bases in Iraq.
In the latest sanctions, the US Treasury targeted Iran’s billion-dollar metal industry and senior regime officials clamping down on the country’s remaining revenue sources. A total of 17 Iranian metals producers and mining companies were listed in the latest group of sanctioned entities.
“We are also designating Iran’s largest metals manufacturers, and imposing sanctions on new sectors of the Iranian economy including construction, manufacturing, and mining. These sanctions will continue until the regime stops the funding of global terrorism and commits to never having nuclear weapons,” Treasury Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin said.
As part of the sanctions, a Chinese shipowner Hongyuan Marine Co. Ltd. and its vessel Hong Xun have been designated.
The U.S. said that the company acted within a network of three China- and Seychelles-based entities and that its ship was involved in the purchase, sale, and transfer of Iranian metals products, as well as in the provision of critical metals production components to Iranian metal producers.
Specifically, in September 2019, Hong Xun transported steel slabs purchased by Pamchel Trading Beijing Co. Ltd. from Esfahan Mobarakeh Steel Company from Bandar Abbas, Iran, to China.
Hongyuan Marine Co. Ltd., located in Zhejian, China, is the registered owner of the vessel Hong Xun, as well as the vessel’s Ship Manager/Commercial Manager.
“Hongyuan Marine Co. Ltd. is being designated pursuant to E.O. 13871 for having knowingly engaged, on or after the date of E.O. 13871, in a significant transaction for the purchase, acquisition, sale, transport, or marketing of iron, iron products, aluminum, aluminum products, steel, steel products, copper, or copper products from Iran through its vessel, Hon Xun. OFAC is also identifying the Hong Xun as blocked property in which Hongyuan Marine Co. Ltd. has an interest,” the treasury said.
In the meantime, ten Kenyan seafarers who were stranded in Mozambique for four months after their vessel broke down have been repatriated, the International Transport Workers’ Federation announced.
The mariners had traveled to Pemba, Mozambique through Tanzania in August 2019, to work on an EU-bound vessel, MV Nina. According to ITF, they were left stranded on the vessel, which had experienced technical problems and was later found to be unseaworthy.
The union added that the workers didn’t have contracts or adequate food onboard, stressing that the Iranian owner of the vessel refused to meet its obligations and even threatened the seafarers.
The case was reported to Pemba Maritime Authority and the ITF Africa regional office, which swung into action with the help of the ITF’s inspectorate in Mombasa, Kenya, and the SINPOCAF – an ITF affiliate in Mozambique.
Raul Sengo, SINPOCAF’s general secretary, who is also a member of the ITF Africa regional committee, traveled to Pemba to facilitate repatriation of the seafarers.
“African seafarers face low wages, mistreatment from employers and lack of jobs. We call upon governments in the region to work with global unions to develop programmes that support seafarers,” ITF inspector Betty Makena said.
ITF Africa regional secretary, Mohammed Safiyanu, added: “The ITF is always using its capacity and international networks to assist transport workers. We call upon all the relevant stakeholders to work with us to make the lives of seafarers even better.”
The seafarers arrived in Nairobi, Kenya, on January 7, before travelling home to Mombasa, the union informed.
World Maritime News