HOUSTON, July 27 (Reuters) – A tanker carrying crude oil from Iraqi Kurdistan was anchored near the Port of Galveston, Texas, and must undergo a routine safety inspection by the U.S. Coast Guard on Sunday before it can unload its cargo, an official said.
The Marshall Islands-flagged tanker United Kalavrvta sailed from the Turkish port of Ceyhan in June bound for the U.S. Gulf Coast despite Washington's concerns over independent oil sales from the autonomous region and threats from the Iraqi central government.
Crude offloading could begin as early as Sunday, if the tanker passes the Coast Guard inspection "and there are no other issues," said Coast Guard Petty Officer Andy Kendrick.
The Coast Guard was communicating with the U.S. National Security Council, State and Homeland Security departments about the vessel's arrival and status, Kendrick said.
The United Kalavrvta received the oil at Ceyhan from a new Kurdish pipeline.
The ship is too large to move through the Houston Ship Channel, which begins at Galveston, the Coast Guard has said. The United Kalavrvta will have to offload its cargo onto smaller ships offshore before the oil is delivered to the U.S. mainland.
Trading sources in Texas, New York, London and Geneva have been unable to identify the buyer of the United Kalavrvta's cargo. The oil could go to any one of the many refineries located along the U.S. Gulf Coast.
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