Trump Administration recently imposed sanctions against Iran’s shipping network for allegedly carrying cargoes of weapons of mass destruction (WMD).
A Hong Kong-flagged tanker was briefly detained in Iran before being freed, as armed Iranian guards in speedboats directed the vessel into its waters while it was sailing through the Gulf of Oman.
According to Reuters, the US Department of State identified seven companies that has blacklisted, due to their involvement in Iranian petrochemincals’ transport, marketing and sale. In fact, three of the seven companies are Chinese-based, while another three are in Hong Kong and one in South Africa.
The US will soon issue advisories warning shippers, port officials and insurance companies that it “will target anybody that stores Iranian oil, petrochemicals or refined petroleum in violation of US sanctions”. The US will encourage captains to take photos of anyone conducting illegal STS transfers.
Reuters reports that Iran is unlikely to block the Strait of Hormuz, the world’s busiest oil-shipping channel, in retaliation for the killing of Qassem Soleimani, due to fear of aggravating its Gulf allies as well as China.
Japan has decided to dispatch a warship and patrol planes to the Arabian Gulf, while Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will visit Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Oman, in spite of increased tensions in the Middle East.
The US Treasury Department announced additional US sanctions against Iran, in response to the state’s missile attack against a US air base in Iraq, making now trade with Iran in almost all industry sectors off limits for US, as well as non-US persons.
Reuters reports that Brazil’s state-controlled oil company Petroleo Brasileiro SA has ordered its ships to avoid the Strait of Hormuz. According to a statement, the decision was taken after consultations with Brazil’s Navy, not affect Petrobras’ fuel supply in Brazil.
After the death of the Iranian commander, Qassem Soleimani by a US drone, the US Maritime Administration (MARAD) officially published an advisory in order to warn the US ships located across the Middle East waterways of the possible Iranian maritime threats.
As tensions in the Middle East are rising, South Korean government is rethinking the option of sending naval vessels to the Strait of Hormuz by expanding the operational scope of its anti-piracy ‘Cheonghae Unit’ when the next ship is rotated to the Gulf of Aden next month.
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