The previously seized Iranian oil tanker is about to deliver its cargo to Syria. The Adrian Darya 1, at the center of a dispute between Tehran and Western powers, which went dark off Syria earlier in the week, has been photographed by satellite off the Syrian port of Tartus, Maxar Technologies Inc., a U.S. space technology company said on Saturday.
Maxar’s supplied image shows the tanker Adrian Darya 1 very close to Tartus on Sept. 6.
The ship appeared to have turned off its transponder in the Mediterranean west of Syria.
The tanker, which is loaded with Iranian crude oil, sent its last signal giving its position between Cyprus and Syria. It was sailing north at 15:53 GMT on Monday, the data showed.
British Royal Marine commandos detained the tanker off Gibraltar on July 4 because of suspicion it was about to deliver its oil to Syria. This would have violated the European Union sanctions imposed on the Assad regime.
Two weeks later, Iran in retaliation seized a British-flagged tanker in the Strait of Hormuz leading into the Gulf.
Gibraltar released the Iranian vessel on Aug. 15 after receiving formal written assurances from Tehran that the ship would not discharge its 2.1 million barrels of oil in Syria. So much for believing the Mullahs in Tehran!
WILL WASHINGTON SEIZE THE TANKER?
Washington has warned any state against assisting the ship, saying it would consider that support for a terrorist organization, namely, Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.
The U.S. Treasury Department blacklisted the tanker on Friday.
Will Washington react by tightening the screws on Syria the way it has on Iran? Or will more sanctions be levied against Iran for violating earlier sanctions?
Will the U.S. intercept the tanker on its way back from Tartus to seize it again, or will it turn a blind eye to Iran’s challenge?
Reuters contributed to this article.