A cargo of sanctioned crude oil from Iran that we confiscated has reportedly sat off the Texas coast for eight weeks now, unable to unload since commercial agents fear a vessel that takes it will be shunned by customers. These people are familiar with the matter and informed.
Suez Rajan, a tanker flying the flag of Marshall Islands, has been anchored off Galveston, approximately 50 miles outside Houston, since 30 May, with agents of ships refusing to accept it. The Suezmax needs a lightering agent for transferring the crude to smaller vessels, as its weight and size restrict it from entering the port directly.
Shipping firms are worried that lightering Iran’s crude onto vessels would lead other oil buyers to shun vessels on future voyages, one of those people informed. He added that the legal team also mentioned that was not the case, saying the ship has yet to find any willing party to transfer the oil.
Maritime firms have also strengthened the checks on charter vessels not to use tankers that can potentially transport crude from sanctioned nations. Usually, the firms check out the last three to four vessel contracts and prevent those that could impact future voyages.
One of the Western industry specialists added that the inability to discharge cargo is partly due to the fear of repercussions from Iran. The oil exporter of the Middle East has threatened retaliation against an oil firm unloading Iran’s oil from the seized tanker. The Western industry person added that the vessel had secured necessary US approvals and paperwork for unloading.
Court documents that authorize seizure have been sealed until the cargo is sold, a US government official mentioned on conditions of anonymity as the matter is susceptible.
Reference: Reuter, PressTV, Energy Portal
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