Iranian oil tanker Adrian Darya 1, at the heart of a conflict between Iran and Western countries, has been photographed by a satellite off the coast of Syria, says an American space technology company. The ship disappeared from the radar earlier this week.

Tensions around Iranian tanker

  • July 4: Tanker detained in Gibraltar
  • Suspicion that cargo is destined for Syria, Tehran denies
  • August 15: Ship on released by Gibraltar
  • September 3: Tanker disappears from view
  • September 6: Tanker shows up for Syrian coast

The company Maxar has made photos public showing the ship near the Syrian port city of Tartus. The photos were taken on Friday, September 6. From last Tuesday the location of the tanker was unknown, probably because a transponder was turned off on board, according to data from financial analyst Refinitiv.

The tanker, which previously operated under the name Grace 1, is loaded with 2.1 million barrels of crude oil from Iran. The ship was boarded by British Navy command troops in Gibraltar in early July because the British authorities suspected it was on its way to Syria and would violate EU sanctions.

Iran reacted two weeks later by seizing a British flag tanker in the Strait of Hormuz.

The Adrian Darya 1 was released by Gibraltar on August 15, after Iran offered written guarantees that it would not unload its cargo in Syria. Experts from the world of shipping, however, say they expect the tanker to transfer part of its cargo to a second ship after Tehran announced that it has found a buyer.

The Iranian tanker Adrian Daryia 1 was captured by a satellite at a very short distance from the Syrian port city of Tartus. (Photo: Maxar)

US blacklists oil tanker

The US tried to get hold of the ship when it was chained in Gibraltar, but failed. Washington has warned other countries not to provide services or other assistance to the Adrian Darya 1, because it would belong to the Islamic Revolutionary Guards (IRG), a paramilitary branch of the Iranian armed forces that controls an estimated one-third of the Iranian economy. The IRG is considered by the US as a terrorist organization.

The US Treasury Department blacklisted the Iranian tanker on Friday. The American authorities did the same a week earlier.

See also: US places Iranian tanker on blacklist and threatens with sanctions for help


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