NYT: Web of Shell Companies Veils Trade by Iran’s Ships
From the front page:
On Jan. 24, 2009, a rusting freighter flying a Hong Kong flag dropped anchor in the South African port of Durban. The stop was not on the ship’s customary route, and it stayed only an hour, just long enough to pick up its clandestine cargo: a Bladerunner 51 speedboat that could be armed with torpedoes and used as a fast-attack craft in the Persian Gulf. The name painted on the ship’s side as it left Durban and made for the Iranian port of Bandar Abbas was the Diplomat, and its papers showed that it was owned by a company called Starry Shine Ltd. Both the name and provenance were of recent vintage. Six months earlier, the Diplomat had been the Iran Mufateh, part of a fleet owned by the state-owned Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines, known as Irisl.
Must read. (+ NYT’s interactive and video)