The Twin Tanker Terror of Tanzania and Tuvalu

“Pay no attention to the tanker behind the curtain…”

Okay, so I got a little carried away with alliteration, but if you’re curious about the nexus of maritime law, international sanctions, and Iran’s attempts to keep its oil economy afloat check out this article at Forbes.  It details the symptoms and clues, if not the actual action, of Iran’s efforts to keep its tanker fleet in use through the use of flags of convenience (Tanzania and Tuvalu), where it may or may not have actually registered the vessels.  Tuvalu reportedly delisted the Iranian vessels, which then attempted to register with Tanzania.  While it is unclear if they successfully registered (The Tanzanians claim not), the vessels are acting as if they had, including responding to radio hails using Tanzanian call signs. The calculus seems to be that if they can’t sail under their own flag, and they can’t sail under no flag (under international law they would therefore enjoy no protection and be subject to immediate seizure), the vessels have taken to faking their flag….

Bonus points if you can point to Tanzania and Tuvalu on a map without searching.

 

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