Uncertainty Reigns Over Sanctions-Busting Status of EU Tankers
International Trade Partner Jonathan Epstein was quoted in a Lloyd's List article examining potential U.S. action against European Union tankers that appeared to circumvent U.S. sanctions against Venezuela. The 11 tankers were reflagged in Cyprus after having apparently traded in the Venezuelan oil sector, and it remains to be seen how the Biden Administration will respond. Mr. Epstein said that although the administration has been slow to react, he is not ruling out some form of action, such as imposing a "secondary sanction" on the tankers. In addition, he commented, the shipowners could face other consequences for their activity beyond the U.S. government.
"If they have an accident or incident, the insurer is going to have a tough time deciding whether or not to cover that because of the sanctions risk to the insurer," he explained. "Then, too, if they go to refuel, the bunker operator might reject them. Who knows, right? The crewing company also might say, 'Well, we can't undertake this voyage' because of the sanctions risk."
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