In anticipation of the US sanctions against Iranian oil exports, which were reimposed by the Trump Administration on Monday (along with additional sanctions on everything from Iranian shipping to banking and insurance), oil tankers bearing the Iranian flag have embraced a stealthy approach to keeping the oil flowing: They’re ‘ghosting’ international trackers by turning off their transponders, rendering the ships impossible to track by anything aside from visual cues. [bold in original]

This is from Tyler Durden, “Iran’s ‘Ghost Ships’ Evade Oil Sanctions by Turning Off Trackers,” ZeroHedge, November 7, 2018.

What about the Trump administration’s attempt to cut off Iran’s access to the international financial system? There’s some good news there too. Durden writes:

Meanwhile, the “special purpose vehicle” – a kind of SWIFT alternative designed explicitly to help European companies avoid detection by the US – is helping to facilitate clandestine payments for Iranian crude, eliminating another methodology for tracking who, exactly, is buying Iranian crude. Iranian president Hassan Rouhani has said Iran will defy US sanctions, though both sides have insisted that they remain “open” to negotiations surrounding a new deal.

Why is this good news? Because it makes trade somewhat less easy to stop. That helps Iranians and it helps those who trade with them.

I’ve written on sanctions against Iranians and against Cubans.

See also “Sanctions,” by Kimberly Ann Elliott, Gary Clyde Hufbauer, and Barbara Oegg in David R. Henderson, ed., The Concise Encyclopedia of Economics, for a thorough treatment.