By Irina Slav
A U.S. State Department spokeswoman has told media the department has evidence that the Adrian Darya 1 tanker had delivered its cargo to Syria.
In response to a question on whether the notorious vessel had unloaded its cargo in Syria, Morgan Ortagus told reporters, as quoted by Reuters, “Yeah … The Iranian regime delivered oil to Syria, and that fuel goes straight into the tanks of troops that are slaughtering innocent Syrians.”
TankerTrackers.com, however, tweeted in response to Ortagus’s statement that there was no evidence the cargo had been unloaded. The vessel, they said, was still off the Syrian coast, whilst if it had partially unloaded the cargo it could have continued to the nearest Syrian port and deliver the rest itself, and then leave for home.
Earlier reports from the tracking firm based on satellite imagery showed the Adrian Darya 1 in international waters near Syria with four smaller vessels in the vicinity and en route to the area. These, according to TankerTtrackers.com co-founder Samir Madani, were likely to be used to unload the crude oil cargo of the bigger tanker in parts and deliver it to the Syrian coast.
The Adrian Darya 1, formerly the Grace 1, was seized by Gibraltar earlier this year on suspicion it was carrying crude to Syria in violation of EU sanctions. Iran rejected the allegations and seized a UK-flagged vessel in the Persian Gulf. Last month, after assurances from Tehran it would not deliver the cargo of the Adrian Darya 1 to Syria, Gibraltar released the vessel.
Earlier this week, the UK raised an alarm that Iran had sold the Adrian Darya 1 cargo to Syria despite its assurances to the contrary and that the cargo was delivered to Syria. Iran rejected the statement saying the cargo had been sold to a private buyer at sea. Where the cargo had ended up was up to the buyer, the Iranians said.
By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com