Cosco Shipping's tanker unit denies switching off location transponders
A SANCTIONED unit of China Cosco Shipping Corp has dismissed allegations that the company's tanker fleet turned off their transponders to hide the shipment of Iranian oils in breach of US sanctions
A SANCTIONED unit of China Cosco Shipping Corp has dismissed allegations that the company's tanker fleet turned off their transponders to hide the shipment of Iranian oils in breach of US sanctions.
Two US officials were cited by Reuters as saying the US was 'deeply concerned' about untrackable Chinese ships carrying energy cargoes from Iran.
'None of our vessels had turned off the Automatic Identification Systems on board,' an official from Cosco Shipping Tanker (Dalian) told UK's Lloyd's List.
The company, also known as Dalian Tanker, is among the several Chinese companies and individuals that were blacklisted in September by the US over their alleged involvement in transporting Iranian oils via a complex ship-to-ship transfer logistics network used to obfuscate their origin and destination.
The Cosco official added that an earlier Reuters report - which said 14 Dalian Tanker vessels stopped sending location data from their Automatic Identification Systems (AIS) between September 30 and October 7 - was incorrect.
'We've sent Reuters photos from the vessels to prove that we didn't shut off the AIS. And our vessels have not shipped oils from Iran,' the official said.
The company noted in a written statement that technological issues were to blame for missing its vessel traces.
It said the shore-based receiving stations typically can only reach AIS signals within 50 nautical miles offshore, and therefore cannot locate ships sailing further away from the coast.
While low-orbit satellites were now used to supplement the AIS signals of ships in open sea, the massive coverage areas and the enormous number of vessels have resulted in a high error rate of the information, the statement added.
'These have led to the misunderstanding that the suspected ship has closed AIS or the ship's position is not updated in time.'
According to the report, two Dalian Tanker very large crude carriers - Yuan Shan Hu and Cosglad Lake - were untraceable between October 8 and October 16, while the location of aframax tanker Yang Mei Hu has been lost since October 11.
Lloyd's List Intelligence data shows that Dalian Tanker is the registered owner of 14 tankers, including four VLCCs. It is also the technical manager of 39 ships.