Iran Arrests Greek National for Selling Tankers

The tanker Humanity, ex name Ocean Nymph (image courtesy NMPT)

By MarEx 2016-08-26 13:44:02

Iranian state media reported Wednesday that a Greek shipbroker had been arrested in Tehran on charges of illegally selling three Iranian oil tankers valued at a total of $100 million.

Five other tankers were reportedly returned. The report indicated that all eight vessels were part of a program during the tenure of past president Mahmoud Ahmedinejad. 

Iranian media did not provide additional details, but in 2013, during the nuclear sanctions era, the U.S. government took the unusual step of blacklisting a Greek shipbroker for his alleged role in purchasing and operating eight tankers using Iranian funds. 

The broker, Dimitris Cambis, allegedly used these vessels to transport Iranian oil abroad in violation of sanctions.  

"Pretending to work on behalf of his own company, Impire Shipping, Cambis . . .  purchased eight very large crude carrier oil tankers, all the while secretly working on behalf of" the National Iranian Tanker Company, an Obama administration official told the Wall Street Journal at the time.

Cambis strenuously denied the American allegations, but the Treasury placed him, the firms holding the tankers and the tankers themselves on its list of sanctioned entities.

According to Equasis, three of the eight tankers blacklisted by Treasury were broken up and the majority of the others were returned to the National Iranian Tanker Company (NITC), as follows:

- Ocean Performer (current name Aura, owner and operator in the UAE)
- Ocean Nymph (current name Humanity, owner NITC)
- Leycothea (current name Felicity, owner NITC)
- Ulysses I (current name Destiny, owner NITC)
- Zap (current name Bright, owner and operator in the UAE)

- Nereyda (broken up)
- Seagull (broken up)
- Glaros (broken up)

These numbers match Iranian reports regarding the recent arrest. 

It was not possible to reach Mr. Cambis' company for comment; the U.S. Treasury includes his firm on its list of sanctioned entities without known contact information.

(Editor's note: Equasis data does not always reflect the most recent status of a given vessel.)