Chinese oil tanker may have changed name to try and avoid US sanctions: report

Chinese oil tanker may have changed name to try and avoid US sanctions: report
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A Chinese-owned oil tanker could have changed its name in an apparent effort to avoid U.S. economic sanctions against Iran, according to a report from Reuters.

Reuters reported Friday that the crude carrier Pacific Bravo went dark in June after the U.S. government had warned ports in Asia not to let the ship dock because it was carrying Iranian oil in violation of U.S. sanctions. 

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In July, a transponder of a ship under the name Latin Venture was activated, but it had the same unique International Maritime Organization (IMO) identification number as the Pacific Bravo, Reuters reported, citing data from Refinitiv and VesselsValue, a ship and vessel transaction tracking firm. 

IMO numbers remain constant, signaling that the ships were the same, the wire service reported. 

“Without speculating on any particular shipowners’ actions, generally speaking for a ship to change its name abruptly after receiving accusations from the U.S., it can only be that the owner is hopeful that the market will be deceived by something as rudimentary as a name change,” Matt Stanley, an oil broker at StarFuels in Dubai, told Reuters. 

The tanker is owned by Kunlun Holdings, which Reuters reported is based in Shanghai and has an office in Singapore.