Shipper Accused of Smuggling in $32M Lawsuit

PORTLAND, Ore. (CN) – A trading company claims in a federal complaint that the Liberian company it contracted to ship hundreds of thousands of barrels of oil also tried to smuggle weapons to Yemen, and let Saudi Arabian forces confiscate the oil when it got caught.

Swaidan Trading Co. brought the lawsuit Wednesday in Portland, Oregon, against four Liberian companies that conduct their business in Greece: Dileton Maritime, Androussa Shipping, Aretoussa Shipping and Erikoussa Maritime. Swaidan claims the companies hid guns and explosives in the ballast of the M/V Donusa and altered the ship’s navigation logs to cover up the fact that the companies were working to violate the blockade of Yemen.

Swaidan says it bought 309,173 barrels of oil for $64.73 per barrel, for a total of $20 million. Defendants loaded the oil onto the Donusa on April 1 in Djibouti. Three days later, Saudi authorities stopped the ship for inspection. They found irregularities that indicated the boat was being used to smuggle military grade weapons and explosives and confiscated the boat, along with everything inside, the lawsuit states.

The shipping companies allegedly told Swaidan that the only guns onboard the Donusa were 16 rifles that were locked in a safe.

Swaidan demands $32 million for its lost oil shipment, plus finance costs, insurance, banking charges and attorney fees.

Swaidan is represented by Kent Roberts and David Boyajian of Schwabe Williamson & Wyatt in Portland. The firm did not immediately respond to a phone call after business hours.

Dileton Maritime also did not return an email seeking comment.

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