image Photo: Reuters

Despite Iran’s pledge, oil tanker allegedly heads for Syria

The Iranian oil tanker Adrian Darya 1, mostly known by its previous name “Grace 1”, appears to have turned off its transponder in the Mediterranean Sea, west of Syria.

The vessel was detained by British Royal Marine Commandos off Gibraltar on July 4th, after it was suspected of transporting oil to Syria, in violation of European Union sanctions. On August the 15th, however, Gibraltar Authorities released the vessel after receiving formal written assurances from the Islamic Republic, that the ship would not discharge its 2.1 million oil barrels in Syria. That said, Refinitiv ship-tracking data revealed that the tanker sent its last signal on Monday, giving its last-known location between Cyprus and Syria.

According to shipping sources that were quoted by the international news agency Reuters, “the tanker is likely to try to conduct a ship-to-ship transfer with another vessel for part of its cargo,” after Iran announced that a sale had been concluded. It is important to note that after the Iranian vessel’s release, Washington warned the international community against assisting the ship – insisting that it would consider it “support for a terrorist organization,” namely, Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard. Furthermore, the U.S. Treasury Department blacklisted the tanker and its captain on Friday, the 30th of August. The Iranian Foreign Ministry did not immediately respond to TV7’s request for comment.