US flashes red light on crude oil from Iran

10 June 2015 02:38 am - 9     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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A dispute is brewing between Sri Lanka and the US over an alleged purchase of fuel from Iran which is under a global trade embargo, Daily Mirror learns.

It is learnt that a oil tanker carrying one million barrels of crude oil worth Rs.10 billion reportedly purchased by the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) from Iran is heading towards Sri Lanka.

Commenting on this cargo, the US Embassy has written to the Power and Energy Ministry Secretary B.M.S. Batagoda saying that this stock of crude oil suspected to be of Iranian origin and carried on board the tanker Mercs F WHALE should not be unloaded at the Colombo Port.

"The CPC is well aware that there is an embargo on purchasing crude oil from Iran, this cargo should not be accepted by the CPC," the US Embassy's letter in the possession of Daily Mirror states.

The US embassy said in a letter dated February 6, 2015, Sri Lanka had reaffirmed its commitment to ensure zero level imports of crude oil from Iran and that that the Ministry had advised the CPC of this undertaking and directed them to continue with the procedure to share information with the US authorities on the import of crude oil to Sri Lanka.

"Despite your instructions, it is reported that the CPC has purchased a consignment of one million barrels of Iranian crude oil," the embassy said.

"In light of close Sri Lanka-U.S. cooperation on Iran, we wish to bring to your attention Information regarding the vessel F WHALE. Based on Information available to the US Government, the Singaporean flagged VARADA LALIMA loaded Iranian origin crude oil at Kharg Island in late December. The VARADA LALIMA then conducted a ship-to-ship (STS) transfer involving the Iranian origin crude with the Liberian flagged F WHALE in early January off Khor Fakkan. Following the STS transfer, VARADA LALIMA again loaded Iranian origin crude oil at Kharg Island in Iran in January."

The embassy said the acceptance of the consignment of crude oil from Iran tantamounts to a serious violation of the undertaking given to the US by the Sri Lankan Government and is liable to damage the prevailing goodwill between the two countries.

The US embassy wants the Power and Energy Ministry advices the Sri Lanka Ports Authority to check the Flag registration of this vessel which is on its way to the Colombo Port.

Most importantly, the Sri Lanka Ports Authority may also look into the Insurance coverage, since according to The US Authorities the vessel F WHALE was dropped by the Insurer, the American Club in early January 2015 and she does not appear to have a picked up any other coverage. Hence allowing this vessel to call at Colombo Harbour or in its vicinity can cause alarm among the shipping community and will endanger the safety of harbor and shores in the vicinity.

Please inform the action being taken in this regard to re-assure US authorities of our cooperation at this crucial juncture in our relations.

Meanwhile, Director Foreign Affair for the Secretary to the Presidents, Himalee Arunatilaka, drawing the attention of a meeting she had with the Charge d’Affairs of the USA embassy in Colombo says that theUS envoy had conveyed that they have information that the Liberian flagged vessel F WHALE which is suspected of carrying Iranian oil is currently en route to Colombo and could arrive by June 4th or 5th. The vessel has failed to comply with annual safety and other requirement and is no longer registered under the Liberian or Panamanian flag. USA is concerned that it may be coming to dock in Colombo as it has failed to obtain permission to dock anywhere else. There is also concern that at least some of the Iranian origin oil may be unloaded in Sri Lanka.

The US Embassy will be making representations to the Foreign Ministry. The Liberian flagged vessel allegedly carrying Iranian oil likely to dock in Colombo. Your attention is drawn to the attached documents regarding the above, received from the Presidential Secretariat. As you are aware, Sri Lanka complies with US sanctions on Iran and accordingly has given an undertaking that Sri Lanka will not purchase Iranian oil. There is a concern at least some of the Iranian origin oil may be unloaded in Sri Lanka. Considering the US sanctions, grateful take appropriate action. (Sandun A Jayasekera)
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  Comments - 9

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  • lkboy Wednesday, 10 June 2015 12:54 PM

    but today is June 10th. Still no ship?

    cristo Wednesday, 10 June 2015 01:05 PM

    You are so stupid ...you want western involvement and money when it suits you ...but to stay out when it suits you ...idiot fool

    rahim Wednesday, 10 June 2015 01:41 PM

    If US do not like Sri Lanka buying oil from Iran, Can US supply Sri Lanka crude oil? This is absurd. Sri Lanka Govt. should be free to buy oil, from any country. Sri Lanka is not a part of US or US govt. Sri Lanka is an Independent country.

    Sham Wednesday, 10 June 2015 10:06 AM

    SL shd accept the Oil barrols from Iran as we need to tie up with Iran in good relationship as well.USA should not interfere on this.

    charith Wednesday, 10 June 2015 10:12 AM

    USA keep out. The government is supposed to be having fantastic relation ship with USA and the west. Let Sri Lanka get oil from where it is cheapest so that the government can keep the same prices.

    Saman Wednesday, 10 June 2015 11:33 AM

    US is our new boss along with UK, EU and UN! Let us use coconut oil people without upsetting uncle Sam.

    Upali Wednesday, 10 June 2015 11:48 AM

    This problem should be referred to MS who always give in to US and say that Sri Lanka is now in good books with international community.

    Push Wednesday, 10 June 2015 08:47 AM

    If we get Iranian oil at a good price US should be able to introduce other suppliers who could supply at the same rates or better rates. Without dictating terms to world they must look at their own business.

    edwardtheophilus Wednesday, 10 June 2015 08:48 AM

    If US supports so much to the government why cannot settle it.


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