Asharq Al-Awsat wrote:
The Lebanese judiciary is investigating a ship loaded with oil derivatives that arrived off the Lebanese coast, and its maritime agent is pursuing it to hear about the conditions of the ship’s arrival, which is suspected of being prepared to violate the sanctions imposed on the Syrian regime.
A ship loaded with benzene entered the Lebanese waters from Greece, and it did not come at the request of any official or private company. After it was anchored in front of the oil facilities in the Zahrani region, the General Directorate of Petroleum in Lebanon confirmed that it was unaware of the ship and was ignorant of its source. She explained that «the import of oil derivatives for the benefit of the facilities is based on the tenders conducted by a competent committee with an official mandate in accordance with the rules, and therefore the ship is now under investigation by the competent authorities».
The ship, which launched from an oil refinery in Greece, loaded with about 4 million liters of benzene (2750 tons), and after entering Lebanese territorial waters, it traveled 26 nautical miles off Zahrani towards Tripoli before returning to off Zahrani. Now, the customs administration in Lebanon detains her and imposes a guard against her to prevent her movement.
Well-informed Lebanese sources told Al-Sharq Al-Awsat that the shipment on board the ship belonged to the Syrian “Al-Naam” company, which is located in Harasta in Damascus, pointing out that the ship “is prohibited from entering Lebanese ports if the aim is to breach the sanctions on Syria and the Caesar Act. »Imposed by the United States on the Syrian regime and its collaborators.
The sources indicated that the file has become in the custody of the South Prosecutor, Judge Raheef Ramadan, and the Lebanese judiciary is investigating the maritime agent to summon him and listen to him, and get acquainted with information about the ship, including its destination and any port it was intending to dock to unload its cargo.
The maritime agent is responsible for the ship from the moment it enters the territorial waters to its anchorage in any Lebanese port, and submits papers that include the type of its cargo the moment it reaches the territorial waters, and then a guide is sent to it to direct it to any port in which it will land. The shipping agent shall bear all the costs of the vessel, including the cost of the pilot who will direct it to the berth on which it will anchor, and he must be the holder of a power of attorney from the company that owns the ship.
Also, according to the procedures, the responsibility of the shipping agent ends when he hands over the papers to the Lebanese authorities, so that the responsibility passes to the customs broker who submits the papers to the customs and takes care of paying the costs of unloading and shipping them and transporting the goods loaded on them to the Lebanese territory. And if, after inspecting it by customs, it appears that its cargo is not in conformity with the papers, the responsibility of the shipper, the customs broker, the company that owns the ship, and the person who is supposed to receive the goods bear the responsibility.
The sources explained to Al-Sharq al-Awsat that “the Lebanese judiciary is pursuing the maritime agent to find out the ship’s destination and the reasons for its heading to Lebanon, whether that was its first trip to Lebanon, and to make sure of the conditions of its arrival and whether there are local parties that import the shipment or facilitate its access to regional waters. Lebanese ».
She added, “There were demands to divert the ship’s destination to Turkey at the request of the maritime agent, but the Lebanese judiciary did not agree to prevent Lebanon being subjected to penalties, and it is now seized by the customs administration in exchange for the oil installations in Zahrani until the end of the investigation.” She pointed out that “Lebanon, after the end of the investigations, will return the shipment to Greece, and will avoid any sanctions and will not allow it to enter, because this would be considered a circumvention of the Caesar Act.”
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