The US government has put its expectations for shipping in writing.

The country's Treasury and State departments and its Coast Guard released a 35-page document on Thursday outlining steps shipping can take to avoid running foul of its sanctions regime targeting North Korea, Syria and Iran.

The notice effectively tells the industry exactly what the US expects as it continues its aggressive enforcement.

Lawyer Wynn Segall of Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld said the Department of the Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control (Ofac), which manages the sanctions regime, "has drawn a line in the sand that puts companies on notice that this is a list of best practices they're expected to follow".