U.S. official: Sanctions turn Iranian tankers into ‘floating liability’

by WorldTribune Staff, November 8, 2018

The United States, following the imposition of sweeping sanctions against Iran, warned all ports and insurance companies to stay clear of Iranian ships.

Iranian oil tanker

“From the Suez Canal to the Strait of Malacca and all choke points in between, Iranian tankers are now a floating liability,” said Brian Hook, the State Department’s special representative on Iran policy.

The U.S. on Nov. 6 imposed sanctions aimed at blocking all of Iran’s sales of oil, its most crucial export.

Hook said the sanctions extend to insurers and underwriters.

“Knowingly providing these services to sanctioned Iranian shipping companies will result in the imposition of U.S. sanctions,” Hook told reporters.

Hook said that Iranian vessels would likely turn to domestic insurers but doubted that they could cover losses stretching into the millions or billions of dollars.

“Should there be an accident involving an Iranian tanker, there is simply no way these Iranian insurance companies can cover the loss,” Hook said.

The United States, meanwhile, has granted eight waivers to nations including China, India and Japan, which will not immediately be punished for continuing to buy Iranian oil.

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