Marine solutions company S’pore linked to Chinese company on US blacklist

SINGAPORE – Local shipping company Highlander Marine (Asia-Pacific) has been linked to a Chinese company that was added to a United States trade blacklist on Tuesday (June 28).

The blacklist indicates that Highlander Marine’s location at the [email protected] industrial complex near Pioneer Road is an alternative address in Singapore for Beijing Highlander Digital Technology.

The Straits Times understands that Highlander Marine is the only distributor here for Beijing Highlander – one of 36 entities determined by the US government to be acting contrary to the nation’s national security and foreign policy interests.

The companies’ inclusion on the list means that their U.S. suppliers need a license from the Department of Commerce before they can ship items to them.

The U.S. Commerce Department said Beijing Highlander, whose products include ship navigation and sensor systems, was among eight entities that acquired or attempted to acquire U.S.-origin items in support of military applications.

Business seemed to be business as usual when the ST visited the Highlander Marine warehouse and office on Wednesday afternoon. Deliveries were made to the warehouse and a pest control team carried out the treatment.

Signs outside the office listed the names of Highlander Marine (Asia-Pacific), High Seas Marine and South & North Shipping Development.

Documents from the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority show that Highlander Marine’s chief executive and majority shareholder, Singaporean Patrick Lim, is also a director of the other two companies.

Highlander Marine was incorporated in 2015. It sells navigation, communication and automation systems, and also provides services such as maintenance and repair of these systems, according to its website.

ST understands that it employs 10-15 people and sources most of its items directly from China. It serves ships in Singapore and also uses its network of partners in the region to meet the needs of overseas customers.

Highlander Marine did not respond to questions from ST.

The United States has also blacklisted companies for other activities such as supporting Russia’s military and defense industrial base in connection with its invasion of Ukraine, and using “practices misleading” to supply Iran with American electronics that would ultimately support the Iranian military.

The 36 companies added to the blacklist include 25 with operations based in China. The other entities were from Britain, Lithuania, Pakistan, Russia, the United Arab Emirates, Uzbekistan and Vietnam, according to the Federal Register entry.

US Commerce Undersecretary for Industry and Security Alan Estevez said export controls were restricting Russia’s military capability and “will continue to bite harder the longer Putin persists”.

When asked if Chinese companies had supplied items to the Russian military, Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian neither confirmed nor denied the accusations, but repeated the opposition of China to US sanctions against Russia, Reuters reported.

The Chinese Embassy in Washington said Beijing had not provided any military assistance to Russia or Ukraine. He said he would take “the necessary steps” to protect the rights of his companies, arguing that the sanctions violate international law, Reuters reported.