59 Iran-Linked Ships Stripped of Panamanian Flag, US DOS Confirms
Panama has revoked the registration of a number of Iranian vessels after the restoration of the US sanctions targeting transportation, oil and banking sectors.
Specifically, the Maritime Authority of Panama (AMP) has removed 59 Iranian-linked ships from its registry, ShareAmerica, the US State Department-run platform said.
The move came after Juan Carlos Varela, Panamanian president, issued a presidential decree last month, allowing the AMP to de-register these vessels.
Out of these vessels, at least 21 Iranian-owned tankers have had their registration revoked, Reuters reported.
The Panamanian ship registry is the largest in the world, with more than 7,000 vessels flying the flag of this country, VesselsValue’s data shows. Back in 2016, Iran and Panama reached an agreement to add Iranian tankers to the Panamanian flag – an agreement which has been been dissolved now due to the sanctions.
The new measure is expected to hamper Iranian efforts to ship oil to ports and terminals around the world. Iran has 65 tankers in its fleet, with the majority of them owned by the National Iranian Tanker Company (NITC). Most of them belong to vessels older than ten years, according to VesselsValue.
In order to compete with international counterparts and increase onshore storage capability, Iranian companies have been reportedly exploring ways to increase its tanker fleet by purchases and newbuilding orders. However, the progress on fleet expansion has been slowed down due to the sanctions.
Reimposed in November 2018, the sanctions target Iranian entities, vessels, and individuals and have the ultimate aim of compelling Iran to permanently abandon its outlaw activities.
World Maritime News Staff