The activities of the company PB Tankers, historic Italian shipowner, were blocked by American sanctions through the Ofac Specially Designated Nationals List because they were accused of helping Nicolas Maduro’s Venezuela, and had to resort to the concordat quote to get out of the black list of subjects sanctioned by the US. The unblocking of the activities was achieved thanks to the collaboration of the shipowner and the Italian Government and exceeded the paralysis of his blocked activities for ninety days.
PB Tankers, a company of the Sicilian Barbaro family, with over one hundred years of activity in oil transports by sea, has remained the victim of secondary (or extraterritorial) sanctions, which strike quickly even on the basis of mere suspicions. For almost three months PB Tankers has been included in a blacklist that has few Italian subjects, including the Camorra and the ‘ndrangheta. OFAC is the government agency that applies US sanctions. Who is hit becomes an outcast: any assets in the United States are seized; operating in dollars becomes impossible; banks and other intermediaries, to avoid retaliation by Washington, block operations.
“The function of OFAC is to give friendly warnings – reassures John E. Smith, who presided over the agency until April last year – More than 95% of the apparent violations end with the filing, without sanctions or further investigation. Companies operating on the global market must understand that if they do business with certain countries they run serious risks. At this moment I particularly recommend avoiding mistakes with Iran, because US sanctions will be imposed with great determination ».
The OFAC has become a vigilante without borders, and controls those who do not share US rules. Europe has not applied sanctions against Iran, but no European country touches Iran’s oil, to avoidproblems with the US.
In the last few days the list has been enriched with many ships: the Grace 1 tanker, has been accused of violating European sanctions against Syria, but also because it was carrying Iranian crude oil. The White Moon, rejected by Eni because its cargo – purchased by the Nigerian Oando – did not respect the qualitative characteristics of the Iraqi crude Basrah Light it was carrying. La Suezmax – remained in front of the Milazzo refinery (Eni-Kpc) for three weeks, with enormous demurrage costs, probably also had oil of Iranian origin on board.
Some companies that control the naval operations of the oil tankers with satellites, are sure that the White Moon has received the load from the New Prosperity with an operation called ship-to-ship. “Ship-to-ship is Teheran’s most widely used maneuver to circumvent sanctions,” explains the CEO of one of these companies. Iraqi Oil Minister Thamer Ghadhban rejects any suspicion and catalogs this news as Fake news.
The problem with the PB Tankers arose because of the Silver Point, which in effect was transporting refined products between Venezuela and Cuba. However, for more than three years the same had been chartered to the Cuban state company Cubametals, which has now entered the US blacklist, while the PB Tankers came out of it. The positive solution to the problem came only after Washington had blocked the operations of the Italian company and of its entire fleet, six ships, creating many economic-financial problems for the entire company.