KARACHI: Authorities at the Karachi port have detained an oil vessel for declaring the port of loading to be Oman and Iraq, not Iran where petroleum products were originally loaded on it, sources said on Saturday.
The East Wind Shipping Company stated in the manifest that the ship’s cargo – MT MORIOKA – had been loaded from Sohar, Oman and Khor Al Zubair, Iraq. The ship was searched at the port of Karachi and the person in charge of the conveyance admitted that the goods were actually loaded from BIK, Iran and Iranian origin.
Sources said the captain of the ship also acknowledged that the ship never went to Oman or Iraq as given in the list of Last Called Ports. The ship has breached the port of origin and BIK, Iran is under various sanctions by the international community and there are no banking routes through which money can be transferred.
In addition, the price of Iranian cargoes is much cheaper than Omani products and the amount transferred in this case must also be very large. “If the matter is analyzed, it is suspected that a large amount has been or will be transferred beyond the legal price of the cargo, because the money is intended to be laundered through state channels,” said an expert who requested anonymity.
Further examination of the letter of credit document revealed that this contract was tied to cargo originating from Oman and nowhere else was the importer’s violation of the letter of credit.
“The ship is still in port and has not been allowed to leave or leave the port without prior permission until the process of recording statements from all crew members is complete,” added the expert. Sources said customs authorities have also approached the State Bank of Pakistan to nominate a key person to assist in the investigation.
Neighboring Iran wants to export petrochemical products, steel and liquid oil to Pakistan in exchange for rice, meat and other agricultural products in barter trade arrangements, the top official said. Iran is willing to start bartering trade with Pakistan with the energy and agriculture sectors that have the potential to increase exports and imports, said Iranian Consul General Reza Nazeri last September while meeting with businessmen. The Iranian government is ready to facilitate Pakistan’s private sector to promote bilateral trade and investment, he said.
The two-way trade volume between Pakistan and Iran is negligible. The reciprocal trade between the two countries is not in accordance with their respective potentials. Currently, bilateral trade stands at $ 359 million including exports to Iran of $ 36 million while imports are $ 323 million.