The US has issued its first sanctions against a shipowner for supporting the Houthis since the movement was redesignated a terrorist group.

The Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control blacklisted Hong Kong-registered Cap Tees Shipping and its 151,800-dwt suezmax crude tanker Artura (built 1998) for allegedly supporting the Houthis and Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps-Qods Force, which is also on Washington’s list of terrorism organisations.

The move, made in coordination with the UK, also targeted a Qods Force commander and a Houthi official.

It comes days after the terrorism designation for Yemen-based Ansar Allah, as the Houthi movement is formally known, for its attacks on merchant shipping and US warships in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden became effective.

The Treasury Department said the Artura has been used to transport Iranian commodities for the network of alleged Houthi financial facilitator Sa’id al-Jamal, conducting ship-to-ship transfers with the 151,000-dwt Mehle (built 1999). Al-Jamal and the Mehle have already been subject to sanctions.

The department said the Artura obscured its identity by broadcasting the name Sanan II to complete some of the shipments.

TradeWinds could not find contact information for Cap Tees Shipping, which has only the Artura to its name on the Equasis database.

Cap Tees Shipping’s address is listed as Room 6 on the 17th floor of Hong Kong’s Wellborne Commercial Centre. That is the same room inhabited by Cielo Maritime, the one-ship owner of the Mehle, at an address that has been frequently used by entities sanctioned for connections to Iran. Both ships are flagged in Panama.

Treasury secretary Janet Yellen said in Brazil on Tuesday: “We have led efforts to counter the financing of Hamas and acted decisively in response to the Houthi attacks in the Red Sea, launching Operation Poseidon Archer and coordinating with our allies to sanction leaders and supporters of multiple terrorist actors, including Hamas, the Houthis and other Iranian proxies.

“The global economy cannot be undermined by terrorism.”

The Treasury Department also sanctioned Qods Force deputy commander Mohammad Reza Fallahzadeh and Houthi member Ibrahim al-Nashiri.

The US and UK have carried out strikes on the Houthis in Yemen. Photo: Ministry of Defence

“Today’s action underscores our resolve to target efforts by the [Qods Force] and the Houthis to evade US sanctions and fund further attacks in the region,” Treasury under secretary Brian Nelson said.

“As the Houthis persistently threaten the security of peaceful international commerce, the US and the UK will continue to disrupt the funding streams that enable these destabilising activities.”

The Artura’s blacklisting came on the same day that the Treasury Department blacklisted the 318,700-dwt Kohana (built 2003), as TradeWinds reported earlier in the day.

It delivered a $100m Iranian oil cargo to China, allegedly on behalf of Iran’s Ministry of Defense & Armed Forces Logistics, which the US has sanctioned.

United Against Nuclear Iran (UANI) chief of staff Claire Jungman said the sanctions against the Artura and Kohana show the “power of persistent advocacy” by her organisation.

She told TradeWinds that UANI first identified the Artura in Iran in February last year as it loaded a cargo at Kharg Island and delivered it to China.

It has moved at least three other Iran-connected cargoes, exporting more than 4m barrels of oil.

“These vessels, part of the wider network UANI has been spotlighting, represent just the tip of the iceberg,” Jungman said on X. “Our continuous call for action is yielding results, undermining Iran’s attempts to evade sanctions through maritime manoeuvers.”