On 28th November, Lloyds List reported on presentations at the International Maritime Industries Forum in London that said that Insurance companies, including P&I clubs and flag states face increased pressure from the US government to comply with unilateral sanctions. It is said that US bans on Iranian shipping, oil and petrochemical exports in place throughout 2019 have placed global shipping at the forefront of geopolitical unrest as companies and owners grapple with the trading and commercial implications. One body said that the US State Department in meetings had made very clear that “they have a willingness to use every tool at their disposal to enforce their policy”. It was reported that the world’s top-3 cargo liner companies have collectively employed more than 150 people to stay on top of sanctions compliance. The Forum was also warned that, in response to US restrictions, Iran has quietly acquired a hidden fleet of ships to establish a shipping logistics chain for Iran-China flows, with ship-to-ship transfers becoming commonplace off Fujairah, Malaysia and Singapore, amid vessel name, flag and ownership changes.
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