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Chinese-Flagged Oil Tanker Allegedly Changed Name To Avoid US Sanctions On Iranian Crude Oil


A Chinese-flagged oil tanker reportedly changed its name in order to avoid US sanctions on Iranian oil, Reuters reported.

Chinese-Flagged Oil Tanker Allegedly Changed Name To Avoid US Sanctions On Iranian Crude Oil

Click to see full-size image

The very large crude carrier (VLCC) Pacific Bravo went dark in the Pacific Ocean by shutting off its transponder on June 5th, according to ship tracking data.

On July 18th, the transponder of the VLCC Latin Venture was activated offshore Port Dickson, Malaysia, in the Strait of Malacca, about 1,500 km from where the Pacific Bravo “disappeared.”

Chinese-Flagged Oil Tanker Allegedly Changed Name To Avoid US Sanctions On Iranian Crude Oil

Click to see full-size image

Both the Latin Venture and the Pacific Bravo transmitted the same unique identification number, IMO9206035, issued by the International Maritime Organization (IMO), according to data from information provider Refinitiv and VesselsValue, a company that tracks ships and vessel transactions.

IMO Numbers remain with a ship “for life,” that suggests that the Latin Venture and the Pacific Bravo were the same vessels and also “suggested the owner was trying to evade Iranian oil sanctions.” How that connection was made remains unclear, since there’s really no evidence.

According to Reuters an unnamed US official warned ports in Asia to not allow the Latin Venture to port, because it was allegedly carrying Iranian crude oil in violation of US sanctions on the Islamic Republic.

A VLCC usually carries 2 million barrels, worth approximately $120 million.

“Without speculating on any particular shipowners’ actions, generally speaking for a ship to change its name abruptly after receiving accusations from the U.S., it can only be that the owner is hopeful that the market will be deceived by something as rudimentary as a name change,” said Matt Stanley, an oil broker at StarFuels in Dubai.

The Latin Venture is owned by Kunlun Holdings, which is based in Shanghai, according to Equasis.org, it also has an office in Singapore.

Reuters attempted to contact the company but there was no response.

The Pacific Bravo was also full of cargo, and when it vanished for 42 days and reappeared as the Latin Venture it was empty, according to Refinitiv and VesselsValue data.

According to a statement from the Marine Department Malaysia, the Latin Venture entered Port Dickson on June 29th for a crew change and departed on July 18th and unloaded no cargo while there.

After departing the Malaysian port, the tanker sailed past Singapore to the southeastern coast of Malaysia and on July 25th it transmitted that its cargo tanks were nearly full. As of August 14th, the ship remains there, ship-tracking data shows. There is no way to determine the origin of the cargo’s contents.

The Iranian side has provided no comment.

Reuters asked the Chinese Foreign Ministry for a comment, and it alleged was “not aware of this particular situation.” But China does oppose the US’ unilateral sanctions on Iran, and “long-armed jurisdiction”, according to a Foreign Ministry spokesperson.

“The global community, including China, is legally engaged in normal co-operation with Iran within the framework of international law, which deserves to be respected and protected,” the spokesperson said.

On August 1st, Reuters also requested a comment from the US State Department and got a response:

“We do not preview our sanctions activities, but we will continue to look for ways to impose costs on Iran in an effort to convince the Iranian regime that its campaign of destabilizing activities will entail significant costs.”

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on July 22nd that the U.S. imposed sanctions on Chinese entity Zhuhai Zhenrong and its CEO Youmin Lin because “they violated U.S. law by accepting crude oil.”

“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,” Secretary Pompeo said.

In June 2019, Iranian oil purchases by China were reduced, as the US sanction waivers were not renewed following May 2nd.

According to Chinese customs data, cited by Reuters, Iran sent a bit over 208,000 bpd of crude to China, which was down from over 250,000 bpd in May while the waivers were still in effect. Reuters Refinitiv data showed that the bulk of the Iranian oil shipments to China in June were unloaded at the port of Tianjin, at 163,000 bpd.

For India, in April purchases of Iranian oil were up 5% year on year, despite the sanctions in March, since the waiver was still in effect.

After the waiver was not renewed, on May 24th, Indian Ambassador to the US Harsh Vardhan Shringla said India stopped importing oil from Iran after the United States refused to extend exemption from sanctions.

As of late April, India had dropped its dependency on Iranian oil from about 2.5 billion tonnes a month to 1 million tonnes a month, he said.

“We do understand that this has been a priority for the US administration, although it comes at a cost to us because we really need to find alternative sources of energy,” Shringla said.

Iran earlier used to supply 10 per cent of India’s oil needs.

As of July 3rd, India still imported Iranian oil. Minister of State for External Affairs V. Muraleedharan said that bilateral trade with Iran, including oil imports wouldn’t stop.

To a direct question on whether the government would “withdraw or discontinue” trade with Iran, Minister of State for External Affairs V. Muraleedharan said, “No.”

“Prime Minister [Modi] pointed out that although Iran supplies 11% of our energy, India had reduced oil imports from Iran […] despite the effect it had on the Indian economy, [and] we had been able to sustain this position,” Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale said.

In March 2019, purchases of Iranian crude oil looked the following way:

Chinese-Flagged Oil Tanker Allegedly Changed Name To Avoid US Sanctions On Iranian Crude Oil

Click to see full-size image




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  • Valerianus Maximus

    The easy answer is to ditch the old transponder into the ocean and set up a new one with a new “unique” code. Also, the Chinese could report ships as sunk, only to have “new” ones appear when convenient, with new transponder codes to prove it. Secret shipyards in Shangri-La, you know. Interestingly, the fictitious “Shangri-La” is supposed to have existed in the Kunlun Mountains, which bear the same name of the holding company in this story: Kunlun Holdings. Sounds seriously serendipitous.

    If the Yankistani flotilla tries to board and capture Chinese vessels, the crew should be ready to carry out obstructive counteraction by opening the sea cocks and detonating charges to blow holes in the hull for a fast sinking and rigging the hatches to seal permanently by remote control. Boarding parties might get skittish if they know that they could trapped below decks when the “prize” goes under.

    Otherwise, run convoys with PLAN escort ships.

    • Toronto Tonto

      Not all are stupid like Russians you know .

      • Valerianus Maximus

        Yes, jews are complete morons.

  • Codenamed ‘Gordon’

    I think the most beautiful sea in the world is Caspian Sea where you can be sure not to see stupid ships under an United Snake flag

    • Boycott-Israel!

      Yes, Caspian is unique and beautiful indeed.

  • Rob

    The US thugs have looted most African and Asian countries. The US thugs steal their minerals and oils free of charge.

    Economic sanctions = Economic terrorism
    Interference in a state = State terrorism

    • Toronto Tonto

      Russia is the only country that is changing borders since 1945 by the GUN and stealing land by the GUN .

      • Hasbara Hunter

        Ofcourse Khazarian AshkeZioNazi Hasbarat…The only thing you can do is LIE!


        • Toronto Tonto

          Those bases are there with permission dickhead , they want protection from the terrorist Russian thieves .

          • Hasbara Hunter

            Nope the AngloZioNazis took over all those Nations in the last couple of Centuries & installed their own Assmunching Puppeticians…

      • Valerianus Maximus

        Your beloved Israel, of course, has never changed its border even so much as a square inch of land.

        • Rob

          The US and Israel time is over. Now its time for pay back.

      • ” Russia is the only country that is changing borders since 1945 by the GUN and stealing land by the GUN”
        – I would not consider this trolling but an example that indeed one can log in into an account and be totally unaware of the existence of books 🤣 let alone wikipedia 🤣🤣

        P.S. sit nomen omen – “tonto” means stupid 🤣🤣🤣

  • AM Hants

    Do the US sanctions have UN backing?
    The US has never signed or ratified the ‘Law of the Sea Convention’, so why is the US dictating terms, with regards who can and cannot trade with Iran?
    Who needs Crude oil, owing to their economy tanking?

    I do like the work of Eva Bartlett, although off topic. However, the same script is being played in Hong Kong, as well as Russia.

    “I Did Not See Police Brutality”: Human Rights Defender Eva Bartlett on Opposition Demonstrations in Moscow… https://www.stalkerzone.org/i-did-not-see-police-brutality-human-rights-defender-eva-bartlett-on-opposition-demonstrations-in-moscow/

    “Feeling like One Is in a Game”: How Protests in Moscow are Organised… https://www.stalkerzone.org/feeling-like-one-is-in-a-game-how-protests-in-moscow-are-organised/

  • Toronto Tonto

    The Chinese and Russians will always lie lie lie , respect and integrity mean nothing to them .

  • Michael

    According to Reuters an unnamed US official warned ports in Asia to not allow the Latin Venture to port, because it was allegedly carrying Iranian crude oil in violation of US sanctions on the Islamic Republic.
    China built and controls the Gwadar port in Pakistan and owns the Hambantota Port in Sri Lanka.
    China intends to fully violate all US sanctions and buy as much Iranian oil as she can in order to depress world crude prices and has promised to have naval escorts for her ships.

    • Valerianus Maximus

      The Chinese strategy is sound. The Yankees can do nothing to stop it, unless they want a shooting war with China. Keeping oil prices depressed helps China as an oil importer and harms the Yankees, who desperately need oil prices as high as possible to ease the ruinous losses they are incurring with shale oil extraction.

      • Michael

        Very true and today China is the world’s largest importer of oil. she is in the same place we were in the 1970’s and because of that China gets to dictate to her sellers which currency she wants to use when buying oil. That is one of major reasons for the rise of the “Petro Yuan”.

  • Garga

    Maybe it’s related to registration. For example, In Iran a ship has to have an Iranian (not Persian) name to be able to carry Iran’s flag (as was case with Grace-1 after Panama de-registered it mid-voyage). It has to be a unique name or at least not similar to an existing vessel under Iranian flag (the ship can keep it’s former foreign name -if it was already named- AFTER a positive vote by board of ministers. If the owner can’t wait for that, they register the ship by an Iranian name and maybe later they can change it back. I don’t know if other countries have similar laws (Panama is extremely relaxed in this regard).

    As far as we know the Chinese vessel is keeping it’s IMO number and most legal works are done using the number not name alone. Besides, China does not recognize the US unilateral and illegal sanctions, why would they try to so childishly evade something which they don’t recognize? Even if they really did, how hard is it to replace a transponder with another one, from an existing malfunctioning ship? If they are so guilty, why they broadcast the status of their tanks? Just to cock a snook at Uncle Sam?

    I really dislike this kind of “investigation” and unfortunately it is here to stay. Showing a computer generated tracking map as proof of their speculations (thank god they’re yet to discover Israeli low-res grayscale maps!), without any on-field confirmation whatsoever. Lazy bastards!
    …and to my horror, some Iranian news sites started to join this trend….

    • FlorianGeyer

      The Yanks think they can rule the world, when in reality the US cannot even control their political anarchy within.

      The Yanks failed in Viet Nam and are too full of their own bullshit to realise that China is exponentially more powerful than North Vietnam, even today.

      The Yanks forget who booted them out of North Korea. It was the Chinese.

  • jm74

    Why even print this crap; anything coming from Reuters, CNN and the like is propaganda and false news. Is there any evidence to support Reuter’s claim?

  • Parisa Zoorgoo

    Im not talking about giews, they are way too few to do any harm or protest what the zios are doing in their name. We need an international ‘Hang a radical zio-terrorist’ day. As a good deed, for fun and games and for the greater good, nevermind justice and peace. Im talking about the dancing child burner kind, cheneys , chickenpooos and all moossad, aipac and likud….basically subhuman excrements.

  • verner

    the Chinese do what they have to do to round the illegal sanctions the unhinged states of A has put in place. and if by changing name on a tanker or disconnecting a transponder undermines the sanctions regime the unhinged idiots in washington dc put their trust in, so much the better. even if I doubt the washington dc unhinged and certified born again christians would do anything about it, like confronting a chinese vessel with Iranian oil onboard. it’s more a principle to show the world the sanctions are without bite and that washington dc’s impotence is more and more visible by the minute – time for a good larf.

  • goingbrokes

    US bleats about the “freedom of navigation” and sends its warships everywhere. Then it slaps sanctions on a country and after that even civilian ships don’t have any freedom of the seas if they dare to trade with that country. It is a despicable state of affairs.