Cyprus becoming new Oil shipping Sanctions loophole

A ‘Lloyd’s List’ investigation has found that Cyprus’ shipping sector is being used by shipowners in the EU to register ships involved in Venezuelan oil trades.

It is the first time that an EU state has been seen to be flagging vessels transporting the sanctioned crude from the South American country.

At least 11 tankers involved in the sanctioned oil trades have been seen to transfer to the Cyprus flag in the last year and ownership shifted to new single-ship companies based in Limassol, according to the report.

US sanctions, first imposed on Venezuela January 2019, have restricted or limited trade with its government. However, the legal waters regarding non-US persons or companies with no direct connection to the US are murky at best.

Although there are some sanctions in force in the EU, these apply to Venezuelan citizens, and do not cover the National Oil producer directly. This means that there is no indication that the vessels are in breach of sanction measures, making Cyprus the perfect haven for those wishing to circumnavigate the restirctions.

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