Malaysia releases oil tanker run by Chinese firm under US sanctions

13 Dec 2019 / 09:58 H.

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia has released an oil tanker following engine repairs, the foreign ministry said on Thursday, after the country’s maritime agency reported an incident involving the vessel which is managed by a Chinese company under US sanctions.

The Silvana III tanker refused to allow inspectors aboard after anchoring last week in Malaysian waters without approval, the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) said.

According to shipping transparency website, the vessel is managed by Kunlun Shipping Co Ltd, one of several firms placed under US sanctions this year for alleged involvement in transporting oil from Iran.

The ministry said the MMEA had inspected “a foreign registered vessel” on Tuesday anchored in waters off Penang on the country’s northwest coast and due to an engine problem it was towed to port on the island of Langkawi.

“The vessel has since been released upon the completion of the repair. The vessel with its 25-member crew is now en route to its next port of call,“ the ministry said.

The ministry did not name the vessel, but spokespeople for the ministry and the MMEA said the statement referred to the Silvana III.

The ministry did not respond to queries about the incident last week in which the MMEA on its Facebook page said the Silvana III had anchored on Dec. 5 and did not follow instructions to drop its ladder to allow officers to conduct an inspection.

After Reuters requested details on Wednesday, the post on MMEA’s Facebook page was taken down.

An MMEA spokeswoman said the post was removed as the incident was under investigation. — Reuters

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