China-Held Oil Tanker Looks To Skirt US Sanctions On Iran
An oil tanker owned by a China-based shipping company has recently gone dark for more than a month, reappearing under a different name in what could be an effort to skirt U.S. sanctions on Iran’s oil exports, Reuters , citing ship-tracking data.
The tanker in question, whose name was Pacific Bravo until early June, was suspected by the United States of carrying crude oil from Iran to China.
According to ship-tracking data compiled by Reuters, Pacific Bravo switched off its transponder on June 5 while it was carrying oil.
Pacific Bravo’s unique identification number—a number issued by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) that stays with a ship forever regardless of its name—reappeared on tracking sites when the tanker activated its transponder on July 18, Reuters reports, quoting data from Refinitiv and VesselsValue. Because of the same IMO identification number, the move suggests that the tanker’s Chinese owners may have wanted to evade the U.S. sanctions on Iran by changing the name.
Beijing has never actually stopped buying Iranian oil after the U.S. removed all sanction waivers for Iran’s customers in early May.
The United States, for its part, is serious about going after China for importing Iranian oil.
Secretary Pompeo said “The U.S. is serious about enforcing our sanctions on the outlaw regime in Iran. So today, we’re taking action against a Chinese company that acquired Iranian oil contrary to U.S. sanctions. No entity should support the regime’s destabilizing conduct by providing it with money,”.