Friday, August 23, 2019

Iranian VLCC saga continues

Iranian oil tanker Grace 1 sits anchored awaiting a court ruling on whether it can be freed after it was seized in July by British Royal Marines off the coast of the British Mediterranean territory, in the Strait of Gibraltar, southern Spain. Reuters

The VLCC ‘Adrian Darya 1’, ex ‘Grace 1’, which was released after being detained in Gibraltar, is currently chartered to an Iranian shipping company, according to Iran’s semi-official ILNA news agency.
At the time of her release, the US had issued a warrant to seize the tanker on the grounds that it had links to Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guards, which it designates as a terrorist organisation and has since warned countries in the Mediterranean against aiding the vessel.
Greece has agreed not to help the vessel, despite the VLCC giving Kalamata as its destination upon leaving Gibraltar and has since denied that the VLCC is heading for Greece. 
“The ‘Grace 1’ vessel, renamed ‘Adrian Darya’ after the seizure, is a Korean-made oil tanker owned by Russia, which is currently leased to one of Iran’s shipping lines,” ILNA said in a correction to an earlier statement, which said that the tanker was leased to the Iranian Revolutionary Guard.
US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo warned on Tuesday that the US would take every action it could to prevent the tanker delivering oil to Syria in contravention of sanctions. Iran has denied the tanker was sailing to Syria.
In another incident, Iran said on Wednesday that one of its oil tankers had broken down in the Red Sea but the crew were safe and repairs were underway.
She has since been identified as the VLCC ‘Helm’. A vessel of the same name is on a list of individuals, companies and vessels that are subject to US sanctions, according to the US Treasury’s website.
‘Helm’ experienced technical issues while off Yanbu and the crew is working to resolve them, according to NITC.
Meanwhile, another tanker loaded crude this month in Iran with the aim of delivering oil to Syria, Fox News alleged, citing unidentified intelligence officials.

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