Sanctions-Linked Tanker Could Take a Month to Refloat
The Indonesia Navy is now predicting that it could take as long as a month to free the ULCC that grounded in Indonesia waters near Singapore just over a week ago. It is expected to take a more delicate operation with added precautions because the fully laden tanker remains lodged close to the gas pipelines that supply Singapore. Nearly all the gas used in the city-state is transported on a series of pipelines from Indonesia.
The 306,344 dwt tanker Young Yong appeared to be circling in the Singapore Strait and according to Singapore’s Maritime and Port Authority was warned that it was in shallow water and in danger of grounding. The vessel normally loads in Malaysia and is reported to have nearly 250,000 tons aboard and was reported to be going to China.
Late last week, however, the U.S. Department of the Treasury included the Young Yong among a number of vessels blacklisted as part of new sanctions against companies linked to an international oil smuggling network that facilitated oil trades and generated revenue for Hizballah and the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps in Iran.
According to the U.S., Technology Bright incorporated in the Marshall Islands and owner of the Young Yong registered in Djbouti, was one of the companies involved in the scheme. In announcing that vessel was being identified as blocked property in which Technology Bright has an interest, the Treasury said, “The captain of the oil tanker Young Yong falsified the ship’s location data, and updated Artemov and other Ava Petroleum employees on the ship’s status and its loading of approximately 1.8 million barrels of oil.”
Technology Bright was designated for having materially assisted, sponsored, or provided financial, material, or technological support for, or goods or services to, or in support of Viktor Artemov. They accused Artemov of overseeing a vast, complex, and interwoven global network of front companies that are used to facilitate oil shipments on behalf of the oil smuggling network.
The Young Yong was one of 11 vessels the U.S. Treasury linked to the scheme. They blacklisted over a dozen companies and six people in the scheme to use the oil to provide financial support to Iran and Hizballah.
The Indonesian authorities reportedly have determined that they will need to conduct a ship-to-ship transfer for the oil to reduce the weight of the tanker. Last week, they attempted to send divers to inspect the hull of the tanker and the status of the pipelines. While they reported that there currently is no damage to the gas lines, experts noted that the refloating operation will have to guard against the possibility that the tanker shifts. They are reporting that several tugboats will be required to maintain its position not moving onto the gas lines.
Singapore continues to monitor the situation while the vessel remains in Indonesian waters. Both countries are reporting that there have been no leaks and that shipping traffic while being warned of the hazard has been able to continue freely in the region.