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  • 2022 November 8 10:09

    Indonesia, US in talks to refloat supertanker grounded near gas pipeline supplying Singapore - The Straits Times

    The Indonesian authorities are in discussions with the US government about operations to refloat the ageing supertanker that ran aground in Indonesian waters, according to industry sources familiar with the matter, The Straits Times reports.

    Young Yong, carrying close to two million barrels of oil, has been sanctioned by the United States Treasury for being linked to an international oil smuggling network that facilitated oil trades to fund Hizbollah and the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps-Qods Force.

    A source familiar with the situation noted that the rescue of the 21-year-old tanker is no longer being overseen by local port officials based out of Karimun. “The matter has now been transferred to the Indonesian Navy, which is engaging the US to come up with a plan of action to refloat the tanker,” the source said.

    A second source told The Straits Times: “The Indonesian side is not equipped to carry out this operation on their own. They just don’t have the expertise to do so. Besides, now that there are sanctions on the vessel, they are approaching with caution.”

    The source added that the US and Indonesia are weighing up the option of appointing a US company to assist in the salvage operations.

    The source noted that extended delays to refloat the ship and pump out the oil from the grounded tanker could put the ship under even more stress.

    The supertanker, which ran aground near a critical gas pipeline that supplies gas to Singapore, has been linked to Ukrainian national Viktor Sergiyovich Artemov.

    The US Treasury has said that Mr Artemov was responsible for overseeing a vast network of cover companies and shipping services used to receive, conceal and trade the sanctioned oil.

    It added that Mr Artemov had used his companies to buy and sell oil tankers that were then used to transport blended Iranian oil on behalf of the oil smuggling network.

    The Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) said the tanker had grounded off Takong Kecil in the Riau Islands in the Singapore Strait at around 8.20pm on Oct 26. The grounded tanker is not impeding traffic in either the Singapore or Malacca Strait.

    MPA had also said that before the incident, its Port Operations Control Centre had sent warnings through its Vessel Traffic Information System to the tanker on the potential risk of it grounding due to shallow waters.




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