US allows some transactions to free sanctioned oil tanker stranded in Indonesia

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SINGAPORE – The US government has allowed some transactions to take place with a sanctioned oil supertanker in efforts to free the vessel stranded in Indonesian waters, a US embassy spokesman in Singapore said.

The Indonesian navy has been trying to free the Djibouti-registered ship, Young Yong, which ran aground off Indonesia’s Riau Islands on Oct 26 near a gas pipeline.

The US last week issued sanctions against an international oil smuggling network it said supports Hezbollah and Iran’s elite Quds Force, targeting dozens of people, companies and tankers as Washington sought to mount pressure on Teheran. The Young Yong was among the vessels sanctioned.

But the US Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) has since permitted certain transactions necessary to dock and anchor the Young Yong safely and to preserve the safety of the crew, the embassy spokesman said.

The OFAC has also allowed for emergency repairs at the ship and measures taken to protect the environment, the spokesman added.

Capable of carrying 2 million barrels of crude oil, the stranded tanker is almost full, according to shipping data on Refinitiv Eikon. No injuries or leaks have been reported.

“At this time, the (US government’s) highest priority is minimising the environmental and energy impact of this incident,” the spokesman said.

“However, OFAC has not authorised the offloading of cargo.”

Indonesian authorities told Reuters on Monday that it could take up to a month to free the ship as it ran aground in the Singapore Strait near a key pipeline that supplies natural gas to Singapore.

The tanker typically loads crude oil bound for China from floating storage at the Singapore-Malaysia Straits.

The ship is owned by Technology Bright International and managed by East Wind Ship Management. The companies could not be reached for comment. REUTERS

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