LONDON/HONG KONG - Hong Kong will stop allowing 19 ships linked to the Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines (IRISL) from operating under its flag, a government letter showed, in the latest blow to Tehran's sanctions-hit global trade.
A letter from the Hong Kong government's marine department (HKMD) dated November 9 and seen by Reuters showed the authority had given notice to the owners of the 19 ships.
Despite the move to de-flag Iranian ships, China continues to be the biggest taker of Iranian oil - a vital revenue earner for Tehran as it struggles with Western sanctions imposed over its disputed nuclear program.
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