he Profinet company from Russia’s Far Eastern Primorsky Region, which has been blacklisted by the US for providing port services to North Korean-flagged vessels, believes US sanctions to be illegal, the company’s Director General Vasily Kolchanov told TASS on Thursday, adding that the company had not violated any restrictions.
The US Department of the Treasury said earlier in a statement that the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) had designated the Profinet company and its director general. According to the statement, Profinet, which "provides loading, bunkering, supplying, and departure arrangements for vessels calling at the Russian ports of Nakhodka, Vostochny, Vladivostok, and Slavyanka… has provided port services on at least six separate occasions to DPRK-flagged vessels, including the sanctioned vessels Chon Myong 1 and Rye Song Gang 1, which have carried thousands of metric tons of refined oil products." "Profinet continued to offer its bunkering services to DPRK-flagged vessels even after its employees knew of oil-related sanctions on North Korea. Kolchanov was personally involved in North Korea-related deals and interacted directly with North Korean representatives in Russia," the US Treasury Department added.
"We believe that our company has been sanctioned illegally," Kolchanov said. "The US documents mention North Korean vessels Chon Myong 1 and Rye Song Gang 1 that last called at our ports in May and June 2017. They did not take any load and left, while our company only recorded their arrival and departure. However, the US imposed sanctions only in the autumn on 2017, that is, six months after the vessels’ last call," the Profinet company’s director general added.
According to him, US sanctions will not harm the company directly as it does not have any accounts in foreign banks. However, other companies will now prefer to refrain from cooperating with Profinet, which may bring its activities to a standstill. "We are a small business, we don’t earn millions of dollars. This is why we just can’t go to the US, hire lawyers there and oppose these sanctions," Kolchanov noted.
Current sanctions against North Korea include financial restrictions, an arms embargo, a ban on the exports of rocket fuel, dual-use equipment and materials, as well as on the imports of coal, iron, lead, sea food and some other products.