Antigua & Barbuda’s Minster of Foreign Affairs, E.P. “Chet” Greene gave the following statement.
An operation was conducted today at Falmouth Harbour led by officers of ONDCP and supported by a multi-agency task force comprising, the Police, the Defence Force and Customs.
In March of this year, following the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the Government of Antigua and Barbuda advised all local companies not to transact any business with any persons, companies, or other entities, which appear on these sanctions’ lists.
Consequently, the Alfa Nero, was not provided with any fuel, except emergency supplies to keep it secure – both for the vessel’s sake, and for the safety of Falmouth Harbour as a whole. Therefore, it could not leave Antigua and Barbuda.
On August 12, pursuant to a request under our Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty (MLAT), the Government of the United States sought the help of the Government of Antigua and Barbuda, to conduct a search of the vessel and to interview its crew.
On 17th August, after the Attorney-General and the Director of Public Prosecution had completed reviews of the MLAT request, and after further consultations with the US authorities, the DPP, Mr. Anthony Armstrong, made an application to the High Court of Antigua and Barbuda, which, on 18th August, issued an Order to board the Alfa Nero and to search and seize relevant material, as well as to question the crew.
DPP Armstrong met all the heads of the law enforcement agencies, prior to this morning’s operation, emphasizing that it was entirely under local control, although a request from the US Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) to observe the operations, had been granted.
At the outset of the sanctions issued against named Russian persons, companies and property, the Government of Antigua and Barbuda announced that it joins the international community in ensuring that sanctions are respected in our jurisdiction.
Additionally, responding to requests from countries, such as the US, with which we have binding Mutual Legal Assistance Treaties, is a legal obligation which must be upheld.
For the avoidance of any doubt, the Government of Antigua and Barbuda makes it clear that two other vessels, the Garcon and Halo, appeared on no sanctions list, and none of the US, European Union or the United Kingdom made any request under Mutual Legal Assistance Treaties, regarding these two vessels.
Therefore, those vessels departed Antigua and Barbuda on July 22nd.
Further information, regarding the operation connected to Alfa Nero, will be released, as appropriate, and consistent with maintaining the confidentiality of the investigation.