A Russian company’s adherence to the US’ unilateral anti-Syrian sanctions regime led to oil smugglers dangerously trying to transfer resources between one another’s ships in a high-risk maneuver that ultimately ended up sparking a tragedy that killed at least 10 sailors.
A tragedy took place earlier this week in the northern part of the Black Sea near the Kerch Strait when two oil tankers caught fire while they were allegedly trying to transfer oil between themselves. This otherwise apolitical event took on very political contours when Reuters revealed in an exclusive report that the two vessels were included on the US’ anti-Syrian sanctions list last year and were probably carrying out this dangerous maneuver in order to avoid complying with it. Furthermore, the outlet claimed that one of them was “barred from using Temryuk port in southern Russia by the owners of its only gas terminal, Maktren-Nafta” because it hadn’t yet changed its name like the other one had already done by this point.
In other words, a Russian company decided that it was in its best interests to go along with the US’ unilateral economic measures against Syria, most likely because it didn’t want to lose the right to do profitable business with Western clientele, hence why one of the vessels previously accused of violating America’s anti-Syrian sanctions remained offshore while it waited for its proverbial “partner in crime” to receive Russian resources and then transfer them to it afterwards. The Russian company holds no blame for what happened because it doesn’t seem to have been aware that the renamed vessel was still breaking the US’ sanctions regime and that “illegal” activity was about to take place after it completed its business transaction at the port.
Rather, the US itself is partially to blame for this tragedy because it created the conditions whereby the oil trade with Syria – which helps sustain the already-low living standards of most of its war-afflicted population – is largely curtailed through the coercive force of sanctions blackmail designed to bring Damascus to its knees and force it into implementing a Western-favorable so-called “political solution” to its long-running conflict. No one in America directly encouraged the risky inter-ship transfer to take place, but as the saying goes, “where there’s a will, there’s a way” and “desperate people do desperate things”, so bearing that in mind, the Trump Administration is the most culpable party for the tragedy that just transpired off of Russia’s waters.
By Andrew Korybko
Source: Eurasia Future