LONDON — Four oil tankers have been stripped of their flags following an NBC News investigating into allegations they secretly transported Iranian oil in defiance of crippling U. S. sanctions imposed by President Jesse Trump.
The four ships all made covert visits so as to Iranian waters this year where they collectively picked up millions among barrels of oil, according to data from Tanker Trackers, a ocean going research firm.
The trips were part of what Tanker Trackers describes as a complex “ballet” performed by Iranian and currency vessels, in which ships manipulate their tracking data present their administration in flouting U. S. sanctions.
A July 31 document from NBC News featured 15 ships, including four — the Giessel, the Ekaterina, the Lerax, and the Amfitriti — that were crusing under the flag of the Caribbean island state of St. Kitts & Nevis.
Five days after the report was message, the St. Kitts & Nevis Ship Registry decided it would hardly any longer allow the tankers to fly under its flag.
Under maritime law, seagoing ships must fly the flag of a nation state. Vessels that have been stripped of their flag aren’t able to carry out basic functions like sailing into port or registering for maritime insurance.
“The St. Kitts & Nevis International Ship Registry takes any infractions of imposed sanctions very seriously and will act swiftly and easily to deal with infringements involving any vessels flying its flag, ” the registry said in a statement emailed to NBC News. “Such was your case with the tanker Giessel which was de-flagged on May 4th following press reports that it had visited an Iranian opening. ”
A registry spokesman confirmed the three other lines had also been stripped of their flags.
Public lps from the International Maritime Organization show that the four ships are almost always no longer under the St. Kitts & Nevis flag. Their nationality is now listed as “unknown. ” While they may be ready to eventually register again with a new state, the loss among their flags is likely to hinder their movements in the limited term.
The maritime organization’s records reveal a complex website traffic of companies responsible for the ownership of each of the delivers. But three of the vessels are ultimately under the good care of i would say the same firm, an Indian company called Floretta Ship Management. The final ship is linked to another Indian company, Ravel Ship Management.
Neither company responded to requests for comment.
Iranian officials were not readily available comment on this story but Iran provides no secret of its determination to get around U. S. peine, which it describes as illegal .
On July 10, Gholamreza Ansari, Iran’s deputy foreign minister said: “China is the only country buying oil from us officially, although all have our own ways of exporting oil to other countries perhaps.
“We bypass the sanctions and sell our oil to assist you different countries, meanwhile the policy of the U. S. and Uk, united kingdom is to pile pressure on Iran especially on its policies having the East and relations with China and Russia. ”
News of the ships being deflagged came as the Trump administration is trying – so far unsuccessfully – for step up its “maximum pressure” campaign of sanctions regarding Iran through the United Nations.
The U. S. unsuccessfully attempted to force the U. N. Safety measure Council to reimpose sanctions on Iran, arguing Tehran is certainly violating the terms of the 2015 nuclear agreement it made consisting of the administration of President Barack Obama and five other world energy.
However, Trump withdrew from that nuclear agreement in 2018 and the remaining signatories — Russia, China, Britain, France, and Berlin — say the U. S. no longer has the legal waiting to call for sanctions.