Egypt seized a Ukrainian oil tanker carrying Iranian crude while it was crossing the Suez Canal ten days ago, according to a report from Arab news outlet Al-Araby Al-Jadeed carried by Middle East Monitor.
If confirmed, this would be the second detention of a tanker carrying Iranian oil over the past two weeks.
Last week, Gibraltar detained a super tanker carrying crude oil to Syria because it had “reasonable grounds” to believe that the Grace 1 ship was violating European Union sanctions against Syria.
Shipping data that Reuters has reviewed suggests that the tanker en route to Syria was loaded with Iranian oil off the Iranian coast. Yet, the tanker documents point that the oil comes from Iraq, according to Reuters.
If the tanker indeed loaded oil from Iran, it was not only in breach of EU sanctions on the Syrian entity owning the refinery believed to be the destination of the oil, but it also violated the U.S. sanctions on Iran’s oil exports.
Earlier this week, the Government of Gibraltar confirmed that the Iranian supertanker allegedly on its way to Syria was fully laden with 2 million barrels of crude oil.
“Her Majesty’s Government of Gibraltar can now confirm, after having received the results of comprehensive laboratory testing, that the Very Large Crude Carrier, the Grace 1, which was detained in the early hours of Thursday morning, is loaded to capacity with crude oil,” Gibraltar said on Monday.
The report of the detention of another tanker loaded with Iranian oil—the one seized by Egyptian authorities—came a day after an Egyptian court sentenced an Al-Azhar professor and five other defendants on charges of spying for Iran. The Al-Azhar professor, Alaa Moawad, attended the trial and was sentenced to 15 years in prison and a fine, while the five other defendants, tried in absentia, were jailed for life.
By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com