Following a long journey across Mediterranean, the Iranian oil tanker ‘Adrian Darya 1’, which is at the centre of a major diplomatic dispute between Iran and the US, eventually arrived at the Syrian port of Tartus and sold its cargo, violating EU and US sanctions.
Iran has seized a tugboat which was allegedly smuggling fuel on Saturday, September 7, and detained its 12 Filipino crew. Iranian TV reported that the vessel was transmitting about 284,000 litres of diesel. Iran hasn’t provided additional information for the vessel, as under which flag its flying.
In an updated FAQs document, US OFAC clarifies that, even for vessels carrying lawful cargo to and from Iran, the provision of bunkers is unlawful and subject to US secondary sanctions, wherever it takes place, in the event the bunkering operation involves, inter alia, US financial institutions.
According to Stena Bulk, Iran will release seven of the 23 crew members of the Stena Impero that are held. However, the company has not yet received official confirmation of the release date. The rest of the crew will remain on board in order to safely operate the vessel.
Japan recently announced that it will not follow US’s coalition into sending security vessels in the Strait of Hormuz, amid the tensions in the area. Yet, Yomiuri Shimbun, Japanese newspaper, reported that Japan is thinking of sending a destroyer to operate in nearby areas.
The United States Department of Treasury announced that it blacklisted the Iranian Oil Tanker ‘Adrian Darya’, along with its captain. The vessel has been in the middle of disputes as it was released from detention off Gibraltar about five weeks after it was seized suspected of breaching EU sanctions by shipping oil to Syria.
The International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) announced that it has serious concerns regarding the lack of understanding shown by many governments in relation to international shipping and the role played by seafarers. In a recent message from the US State Department to the maritime industry, it informs that it will invoke anti-terrorism legislation to deny seafarers a US visa if they work on board a vessel carrying Iranian oil.
Iran claims that it has sold the oil from the tanker Adrian Darya, that was released by Gibraltar after weeks in the custody of British Royal Marines, according to IRIB news agency, which quoted an Iranian government spokesman. Iran did not identify the recipient of the oil carried by the Adrian Darya tanker. He added that the owner and purchaser of this oil will now decide the destination of the cargo.
As Stena Impero is still under Iranian detention for the 34th day, Stena Bulk’s president and CEO, Erik Hanell discussed in Stockholm on August 21, with the Iranian foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif. During the talks, Mr. Hanell gave emphasis on the importance of the release of the 23 crew members.
While the Iranian tanker Grace 1, that was recently released, is sailing across the Mediterranean, the US State Department has come once again to make clear that it does not want any country or entity to help the ship. The ship was renamed ‘Adrian Darya 1’, while it was also reflagged to Iran. It has now left Gibraltar, as the territory’s supreme court ordered its release.
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