Attempts Made to Disguise Iranian Oil Near U.A.E., Say Marine Insurers

By Angelina Rascouet | January 15, 2015

Attempts are being made near the United Arab Emirates’ coast to disguise oil from Iran so that it can be sold to countries that are blocked by the U.S. from purchasing such shipments, global ship insurers said.

“In recent weeks it has become apparent that sophisticated attempts are being made to dupe shipowners,” the London P&I Club said in a notice on its website. The attempts to transfer cargoes between ships off the U.A.E.’s coast are to allow the transportation of crude to countries that don’t have a waiver to U.S. sanctions blocking the purchase of Iranian oil, it said.

Two calls to the U.A.E.’s National Transport Authority in Abu Dhabi weren’t answered outside normal business hours. Nor were two calls to the National Iranian Oil Co., which were also made outside normal working hours.

The terms of U.S. sanctions allow China, South Korea, Japan, Turkey, Taiwan and India to buy oil from Iran.

The alleged attempt to disguise cargoes was also reported by the West of England Club. The organizations provide protection and indemnity cover to their shipowner members against risks including oil spills.

Both West of England and the London P&I Club are members of the International Group of P&I Clubs. Andrew Bardot, the London-based secretary and executive officer of the International Group, also said attempts have been made to disguise Iranian cargoes “recently.” He declined to say where he got the information.

–With assistance from Anthony DiPaola in Dubai.

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