China detains tanker in oil smuggling probe

Hong-Kong-flagged CSC Friendship has been detained by Chinese officials within an investigation into suspected tax evasion on imported oil, Reuters reports citing customs officers from Guangzhou.

According to the customs office, the probe is being conducted into suspected smuggling of light cycle oil (LCO).

The 45,800-dwt product tanker, owned by Nanjing Tankers’ Corporation, was reportedly chartered by Swiss trading house Gunvor during May for shipping oil to China and is now being held “to help the investigation.”

Gunvor confirmed it had delivered oil products aboard the 2008-built ship into China on May 10-14 but said that no vessel had been detained while it was under the company’s charter.

The customs officers have also detained several individuals for questioning who are linked to the investigation, including an employee of Gunvor.

However, no accusations have been raised yet against the trading house or the ship’s owner, Reuters said.

The ship is currently anchored in the East China Sea, off Shanghai, China, based on its latest AIS data from Marine Traffic.

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