August 11, 2004

Melfi Marine targeted as Castro regime unit

The U.S. Department of the Treasury yesterday named Melfi Marine, a shipping company controlled by the Cuban government, as a Specially Designated National (SDN) of Cuba.

This means that "persons subject to U.S. jurisdiction may not engage in any transactions with Melfi Marine unless authorized by Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), and all property of Melfi Marine that is in the possession of persons subject to U.S. jurisdiction is blocked."

"With this step, we continue to restrict the Cuban government's access to capital by identifying and isolating companies controlled by Castro," said Juan Carlos Zarate, Treasury's Assistant Secretary for Terrorist Financing. "The Castro government uses money to enrich itself and perpetuate its totalitarian regime at the expense of the Cuban people."

Melfi Marine was incorporated in Panama in 1981 and is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Cimex, identified by the Treasury Department in February 2004 as a SDN of Cuba. Cimex is a holding company owned by the Castro regime. Melfi Marine provides container shipping service between Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada and Havana, Cuba.

While the Bush Administration has been attempting to strengthen its sanctions on Cuba, the rest of the world is quite happy to conduct business there,

Back on January 21, the Port of Halifax staged a special ceremony when it became the only North American call for a new cargo vessel service operated by Melfi using the M.V. Melfi Italia 2,

"One of the Port of Halifax's most important opportunities for growth is with long-standing customers expanding their service and including Halifax in their port rotations," said Patricia McDermott, Vice President, Marketing, Halifax Port Authority (HPA). "Melfi Marine Corporation has called the Port of Halifax since 1992 and we are pleased to continue that relationship as they expand their cargo business."

The 1,096 TEU M.V. Melfi Italia 2 is owned by Thein & Heyenga of Hamburg, Germany, and was delivered to that company in December 2003 as the "Stadt Rotenburg" by Germany's Mützelfeldtwerft in Cuxhaven. It flies the flag of Antigua & Barbuda and shows up in the Equasis data base as having Severine Shipping as its registered owner. Severine Shipping shares the same Limassol, Cyprus, address as the ship's manager, Marlow Navigation.

Marlow Navigation also manages the Melfi Havana, another 1,096 TEU vessel, delivered by Mützelfeldtwerft to Thein & Heyenga in October 2003 as the Stadt Flensburg.

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