Panama will withdraw its flag from more vessels that violate sanctions and international legislation, the country's maritime authority told Reuters, following the removal of about 60 ships linked to Iran and Syria from the Panamanian registry in recent months.
After the re-imposition of sanctions on Iran by Washington in 2018, Panama's former president Juan Carlos Varela gave the green light to remove a fleet of 59 tankers from the country's registry, according to two sources close to the decision.
Most of those vessels were owned by Iranian state-run companies but they also included ships linked to oil deliveries to Syria, the sources added.
A separate supertanker, the Grace 1, made its way to Gibraltar in early July, where it was seized by British Royal Marines on suspicion of violating sanctions against Syria.
The vessel was fully loaded with crude suspected to be bound for Syria's Banyas refinery, Gibraltar authorities said.
The vessel arrived in Gibraltar showing the Panama name at its hull, but the Panamanian government later clarified it had been removed from its registry on May 29.
“Panama will maintain its flag withdrawal policy,” Rafael Cigarruista, general director of Merchant Marine from Panama's Maritime Authority, told Reuters in an emailed statement.
“Our intention is to improve our fleet's percentage of compliance, not only regarding sanctions by international organizations, but also Panama's current legislation and maritime security rules,” he added.
Cigarruista did not provide details on coming action or targeted fleets.
The exact process leading up to the July detention of the Grace 1 remains unclear. Spain, which does not recognize Britain's sovereignty over Gibraltar, said it would study whether Britain's actions violated its territorial water claims.
Iran called on Britain on Friday to immediately release the Grace 1 and warned of reciprocal measures after three Iranian vessels on Thursday tried to block a British-owned vessel passing through the Strait of Hormuz.
نستخدم ملفات الكوكيز لنسهل عليك استخدام مواقعنا الإلكترونية ونكيف المحتوى والإعلانات وفقا لمتطلباتك واحتياجاتك الخاصة، لتوفير ميزات وسائل التواصل الاجتماعية ولتحليل حركة المرور لدينا...اعرف أكثر