Lebanon Holds 2 on Syria Fuel-smuggling Charges
Lebanese authorities have arrested a ship’s captain and a shipping agent for allegedly attempting to smuggle over a million gallons of gasoline into Syria. Investigators believe the ship’s crew intended to unload the fuel off the coast near Sidon, in southern Lebanon, before transporting it into Syria to circumvent sanctions over non-compliance with the US Caesar Act. The 2019 legislation targets foreign nationals facilitating the acquisition of goods, services or technologies that support the military activities of the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad or the country’s aviation and oil and gas industries. According to security sources, the ship switched off its AIS/GPS system, which aids in the satellite tracking of ocean-going vessels, prior to entering Lebanon’s maritime waters. The sources identified the vessel as the Jaguar S and said it was registered in Panama. They added that it had sailed from Istanbul by way of Crete before arriving off Lebanon at the end of last month. They also said that individuals and groups involved in illegal trafficking along Lebanon’s border with Syria would have been the primary financial beneficiaries, noting that rival families often fight over smuggling routes.