U. S. Sanctions Liberian Flagged Shipping Company

A shipping entity connected to the South American Government of Venezuela and with offices in Liberia has been sanctioned by the Government of the United States.

U. S. Pres. Donald J. Trump

The U.S. is locked in a bitter diplomatic spat with the Nicolas Maduro government in Venezuela which it describes as “illegitimate” and has, instead, recognized, the leader of the opposition-controlled National Assembly, Mr. Juan Guaido who has declared himself interim President.

Pres. Nicolas Maduro of Venezuela

As part of pressuring the Maduro Government, the Trump Administration, through the Treasury Department, slapped Specially Designated Nationals And Blocked Persons (SDN) economic sanctions on the state owned oil company and two international companies that are engaged in the transport of Venezuelan oil.

Petroleos de Venezuela is the country’s state-run oil company.

Venezuela National Oil Company

The Maduro Government is kept afloat by the proceeds of the country’s oil shipment and sale and Washington is working to strangulate the Government.

The Venezuelan Company operating out of Liberia is Ballito Bay Shipping Incorporated with an address at 80 Broad Street in Monrovia.

The address listed for Ballito Bay Shipping is tied to the Liberia International Ship And Corporate Registry (LISCR, LLC), a private U.S. owned and globally operated company that manages Liberia’s lucrative ship registry.

LISCR Offices

LISCR,

The LISCR Trust Company (“the Registered Agent”) on its website says, “ it has been appointed by the Government of the Republic of Liberia to serve as a sole registered agent for all Liberian non-resident corporate entities. The principal role of the Registered Agent is to receive filing instructions, issue annual invoices, notices, etc. and to provide a registered office address for receiving service of process, or legal notices, on the entity’s behalf. The Registered Agent can also serve as the official depository for any document that a Liberian entity voluntarily records outside the public register.

The Registered Agent’s address for all non-resident Liberian entities is 80 Broad Street, Monrovia, Liberia…”

The Liberian Government receives fees collected by LISCR which are deposited in its account at the Federal Reserve in New York.

The identification number of Ballito Bay Shipping with the International Maritime Organization (IMO) is 5804961.

Crude Tanker Despina Andrianna

The Despina Andrianna vessel owned by Ballito Bay Shipping Incorporated is part of the Liberian registry and is engaged in transporting Venezuelan oil to Cuba.

West African Journal Magazine tracked the Despina Andrianna crude tanker and the vessel’s global position currently has it sailing in the Caribbean to an unknown destination.

The sanctions prohibit any citizen of the U.S. or entity from transactions involving Ballito Bay.

The LISCR will now be restricted from further business with the named company in the Liberian registry which it manages , according to the terms of the U.S. sanctions.

Liberia Business Registry Application Form

On its website, the LISCR notes, “…A non-Liberian corporation can re-domicile into Liberia and will become a Liberian Corporation upon filing the application with required attachments, including the Articles of Incorporation of the corporation as a Liberian corporation. The corporation will continue its existence as a Liberian corporation; the existence date of the re-domiciled corporation is the date of incorporation of the corporation in the jurisdiction of its origin.

Liberian nonresident domestic corporations are governed by provisions of the Business Corporation Act, The Associations Law, Title 5, as Amended, of the Liberian Code of Laws Revised, (the “BCA”).

Under Liberia’s Business Corporation Act, Ballito Bay Shipping would be considered a “Foreign Corporation” which is

(o) “Re-domiciled” doing business for profit in Liberia.

It is unclear if Ballito Bay Shipping Incorporated which is registered with the Liberian Business Registry (LBR) at the Ministry of Commerce or Liberia National Investment Commission

There are eight (8) other shipping companies with Liberian flagged ships tied to Iran and Hizballah that are sanctioned by the US Government and listed on the Treasury Department’s SDN, according to the Office of Asset Control (OFAC).

West African Journal Magazine has reached out to LISCR Trust for comment on its future relationship with Ballito Bay Shipping Incorporated.

By Our International Affairs Correspondent

West African Journal

1.1 Billion Barrels Of Oil Uncovered Offshore The Gambia

An Australian company West African explorer FAR Ltd. says  that the small West African nation of the Gambia has uncovered an estimated 1 billion dollars of offshore oil.

Map of Gambia
Map of Gambia

The company which has a portfolio offshore West Africa said,  an audit of geo-technical data show the Samo and Bambo prospects off the coast of Gambia hold combined best estimate prospective reserves of 1.1 billion barrels, the Point website reports.

According to the data, the Sama prospect in particular holds substantial promise, with an estimated chance of success of more than 50 percent. Managing Director Cath Norman said in a statement that Gambia could be a “huge prize” if data analysis turn into real barrels.

“Given the eight successful wells drilled on the shelf to date in Senegal and into the key reservoirs in the Samo prospect, the geological chance of success for drilling this prospect is high for a frontier exploration well,” she said.

Oil Drilling
Oil Drilling

The permit area offshore Gambia, which covers 1,000 square miles, is adjacent to FAR’s flagship SNE discovery offshore Senegal. The initial oil discovery at the SNE field was made in 2014 and the find was quickly lauded as one of the larger discoveries in the world. The field met the minimum threshold to be considered a commercial opportunity by the third quarter of 2016.

 In October, African Petroleum said its subsidiaries in Gambia filed requests for arbitration at an international dispute chamber to protect two of its offshore licenses.

West African countries have been at odds over their maritime borders, while officials there have been vetting their corporate options as the potential for oil evolves.

Exxon Mobil recently announced that it was pulling out of oil prospecting off shore another West African nation Liberia, following its inability to find substantial reserves.

“We are naturally disappointed by the lack of hydrocarbons in the targeted reservoir sands in the Mersurado-1 well,” said Arthur Millholland CEO of COPL, which holds a 17 percent in the Liberian project. 

“The lack of hydrocarbons at this location where our seismic data presented attributes indicative of hydrocarbons will cause us to do additional work on the 3D seismic over the Block, and reevaluate the other leads we have mapped on LB-13,”  the COPL executive told Offshore Energy Today website.

West African Journal Magazine

Ecobank Group Research Reveals Three Key Emerging Trends for Africa

The 2017 version of Ecobank Research’s Fixed Income, Currency and Commodities (FICC) Guidebook, which provides expert knowledge and analysis on African markets for investors and businesses, was launched today at AfricaFICC.

EcoBank
EcoBank

A press statement issued Thursday by the APO Group for Ecobank and copied to West African Journal Magazine says, indicating a positive outlook for the continent, three key trends are forecast to take hold during the next 12 months. and include economic rebound in sub-Saharan Africa driven by a recovery in the region’s economic heavyweights, Nigeria and South Africa, and ongoing growth in the top performers, Ethiopia, Côte d’Ivoire and (more recently) Ghana.

  • Growth will be driven by a rise in oil production (notably in Ghana, Republic of Congo, Nigeria and Angola), strengthening infrastructure investment across West and East Africa, and improved weather conditions which bode well for crops.
  • Strengthening economic activity, plus a moderate improvement in oil and mineral prices, will help narrow the current account deficit, but pressure on SSA currencies will remain.
Oil Drilling
Oil Drilling

The second emerging trend points to West Africa’s gas sector becoming a hive of activity in 2018 from Senegal to Angola, with the development of gas pipelines, floating liquefied natural gas (FLNG) platforms and major gas field projects.

  • Governments in the Gulf of Guinea and across West Africa have ramped up efforts to secure gas supply in order to boost domestic power generation and diversify their revenues away from crude oil.
  • Deregulating the gas market and allowing market-driven gas prices will be key to unlocking further gas infrastructure investment across the region.
Africa mobile users
Mobile Phone Users

The third trend suggests Fintech innovation in Africa picking up speed in 2018  buoyed by a new generation of Africans who are ‘digital natives’. The proliferation of tech hubs across Africa (notably in South Africa, Kenya, Rwanda, Nigeria, Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire) will nurture the next wave of African start-ups and help connect them with investors, the release said.

  • Digital innovation in SSA is being driven by the explosion in mobile phone usage, enabling African consumers to leapfrog existing business models and technologies.
  • African Fintech firms are increasingly driving this innovation, deploying digital tools to build credit profiles for the previously ‘unbankable’, providing electricity to rural households that were previously off the grid, even using artificial intelligence to diagnose health problems remotely.

Incorporated in Lomé, Togo, in 1988 Ecobank Transnational Incorporated (‘ETI’) the parent company of Ecobank is the leading independent pan-African banking group. It currently has a presence in 36 African countries, namely: Angola, Benin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chad, Congo (Brazzaville), Congo (Democratic Republic), Côte d’Ivoire, Equatorial Guinea, Ethiopia, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Kenya, Liberia, Malawi, Mali, Mozambique, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Sao Tome and Principe, Senegal, Sierra Leone, South Africa, South Sudan, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe. The Group employs over 20,000 people in 40 different countries in over 1,200 branches and offices.

Ecobank is a full-service bank providing wholesale, retail, investment and transaction banking services and products to governments, financial institutions, multinationals, international organizations, medium, small and micro businesses and individuals.