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USA imposes Iran sanctions on China tankers

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Trump administration imposed sanctions this week on Chinese tanker companies for alleged involvement in the transport of oil from Iran, calling it one of the biggest sanctions actions it has taken since its crackdown on Iranian oil exports.


The move has raised concern in the global shipping industry that up to 50 tankers could be affected. “Losing that many tankers overnight has led to a scramble for ships in an already tight market and rates have jumped,” one shipping source said. The administration listed four companies for allegedly engaging in the transaction: China Concord Petroleum Co, Ltd; Kunlun Shipping Company Ltd; Pegasus 88 Ltd; and COSCO Shipping Tanker (Dalian) Seaman & Ship Management Co, Ltd. Washington also imposed sanctions on Kunlun Holding Co Ltd, and COSCO Shipping Tanker (Dalian) Co, Ltd, which own or control one or more of the above companies and allegedly had knowledge of their sanctionable behavior. But the sanctions do not apply to these entities’ “parent companies or any other entities in their corporate groups,” the U.S. State Department said.

The U.S. State Department said the sanctions freeze all assets of these companies in the United States or in the possession of a U.S. citizen, and bans several of their executives from entering the United States. The U.S. Treasury Department issued guidance late on Wednesday saying that the sanctions apply "only to these listed entities and any entities in which they own, individually or in the aggregate, a 50% or greater interest."

The State Department said while the purchase of Iranian crude oil sparked the move, “we are similarly concerned with the export of refined oil products from Iran.” Analysts at ClearView Energy Partners said that this week’s sanctions appeared to target vessels that carry liquid petroleum gas, such as propane or butane, in addition to crude and ultra-light oil called condensate, in an expansion of past sanctions.


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