So, apparently 2 Greek-owned, Liberia-flagged ships carrying Iranian oil to Venezuela changed their minds and turned back (I assume after the US said “I see you”). It should be noted that they knew what they were doing was going to annoy Washington – they apparently turned off their AIS transponders so they were harder to track.
While the US can say something to the Greek government, the EU Blocking Statute does provide cover for the vessel owner from fines (although not being sanctioned themselves). But, I wonder – on the back of the recent Maritime Shipping Advisory issued by OFAC, might the Liberian flagging authorities might want to consider de-flagging the vessels? Sure, they’re a flag of convenience, but it’d be a terrible shame if no US-owned vessels could fly their flag any more (and if EU companies followed suit out of fear of OFAC).