Sammy Ofer. Legal at the time?
Photo: Paul Manning

Report: 7 of Ofer's tankers docked in Iran

Calcalist reveals additional trade with Iran by Sammy Ofer, already object of US sanctions

At least seven oil-tankers belonging to Tanker Pacific, owned by Israeli business tycoon Sammy Ofer, have docked in Iran between 2004 and 2007, Calcalist revealed Sunday.


The Ofer Brothers Group was accused of selling a tanker to Iran and blacklisted by the US Tuesday for trading with the Islamic Republic.


The report says the ships docked at Iran at least eight times, even while Israeli and Jewish groups were lobbying for more economic sanctions against the Islamic Republic and the US announced it would blacklist companies caught trading with Iran.


In May 2004 the vessel Cosmic Jewel docked in Iran, flying the Liberian flag, and the Carmen Sea docked there in April 2010 between visits to Japan and France, the report says.


Tanker Pacific, which owns ten oil tankers, is one of the largest firms in the world for oil and chemical transport. According to its website, the company was established by Idan Ofer in the early '80s and currently employs around 4,000 people. Its main office is located in Singapore and there is also a branch in London, Calcalist says.


Sammy Ofer's associates say that at the time the tankers docked in Iran there were no laws prohibiting it. They added that Tanker Pacific is a company of global scale and that it operates like other firms its size, which also dock in Iran.


"Over the past few years, and as a small part of our business, we've decided to send cargo containing oil and its derivatives, which are intended for our clients, to ports in Iran as well. All operations of this kind were fully permitted under international laws and regulations legislated by the US, EU, and UN," Tanker Pacific said in a statement.


"Despite this, Tanker Pacific decided in November of 2010 to put a complete stop to all shipments of oil and its derivatives to Iran, despite the fact that it is commercial trade deemed proper by international law traditionally enacted by international shipping companies working outside the US, the EU, and the UN."


Iran: West's new game

Meanwhile an Iranian official denied reports Sunday that Israeli ships had docked at the country's ports, stressing that Iranian law prohibits "any transaction" with Israel.


This information constitutes the West's "new game", Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Mines of Iran (ICCIM) President Mohammad Nahavandian said, because Iran has "no link with Israeli business leaders".


"The laws of our country prohibit any dealings with the Zionist regime or with companies related to it," Nahavandian told reporters.


The United States imposed sanctions on the Ofer Brothers Group Tuesday, accusing it of having sold a tanker worth $8.6 million to the Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines (IRISL) shipping company in violation of the international embargo imposed on Tehran over its controversial nuclear program.


Sammy Ofer denied the accusations, saying Israel would confirm his version, but the Foreign Ministry opted to stay out of the fray, announcing that it would not intervene with the US on his behalf.


AFP contributed to this report



פרסום ראשון: 05.29.11, 10:04
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