U.S. Intervention Sought as American Jet Fuel for Israel Military Arrives

U.S.-flagged product tanker Overseas Mykonos, laden with 60,000 metric tons of government-supplied jet fuel for Israel's military has arrived at the port of Ashkelon, amid calls to Secretary of State John Kerry from Amnesty International to prevent the vessel from unloading.

The cargo includes jet fuel loaded last month in Corpus Christi, from the Valero refinery, as well another 15,000 tons of gasoline, 7,000 tons of which came from a previous call at Houston, according to Chicago-based TransArms, Research Center for the Logistics of Arms Transfers.

TransArms cited documents showing contracts between U.S. Defense Logistics Agency Energy, the vessel charterer, and Texas-based Valero Marketing & Supply Co., as well as bills of lading and ship satellite tracking data.

The OPIS Tanker Tracker shows the Overseas Mykonos anchored offshore from Ashkelon, signaling it is fully laden, after loading on July 23 in the U.S. Gulf. Another U.S.-flagged tanker, Overseas Santorini, is currently in the Corpus Christi region, last calling at Ashkelon May 5.

The Overseas Mykonos, along with the Overseas Santorini, have called six times at the Israeli port since January to discharge jet fuel and gasoline supplied by U.S. refineries, including once days after the military airstrikes began in Gaza on July 8, TransArms said.

Amnesty International has written to John Kerry in a letter dated Aug. 12, saying the supply of fuel for fighter jets and military vessels amid land and air offensives that have killed over 1,900 Palestinians including civilians, could breach international law.

"A State may be held responsible if it knowingly aids or assists another State in the commission of an internationally wrongful act," the letter said. "Internationally wrongful acts include serious violations of international human rights and humanitarian law. Assistance would include the provision of material aid, such as fuel for military aircraft and vehicles, to a state that is known to use that aid to commit serious human rights violations or war crimes."

Amnesty said both Palestine and Israel could be responsible for committing war crimes.

Amnesty has approached Valero seeking comment over the contract to supply refined products to the U.S. government that are shipped to Israel, but the company said it does not discuss its supply contracts.

The owner of the tankers is New York-based OSG, a company that emerged from Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection less than two weeks ago. OSG has not responded to an OPIS request for comment.

The OPIS Tanker Tracker compiles information from traders and brokers, and FleetMon ship tracking to provide a real-time insight into Europe-bound refined products on tankers.

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