After a weekend circling the eastern Mediterranean the Iranian VLCC, Adrian Darya 1, has stopped 45 nautical miles west of Tripoli, Lebanon in international waters, likely waiting for another tanker to come alongside to offload some of its 2.1m barrels of crude so it can then transit the Suez Canal.
The ship has been carrying the same cargo since April on a circuitous route that has seen it pass the Cape of Good Hope, enter the Mediterranean where it was detained on July 4 over claims it was bound for sanctions-hit Syria.
On Friday, the US Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) blacklisted the tanker and its master, claiming the cargo of crude stood to ultimately benefit Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps-Qods Force (IRGC-QF), which Washington deems to be a terrorist organisation.
“Vessels like the Adrian Darya 1 enable the IRGC-QF to ship and transfer large volumes of oil, which they attempt to mask and sell illicitly to fund the regime’s malign activities and propagate terrorism,” said Sigal Mandelker, under secretary for terrorism and financial intelligence. “Anyone providing support to the Adrian Darya 1 risks being sanctioned. The path to relief is to change course and not allow the IRGC-QF to profit from illicit oil sales.”
The US State Department has said any seafarer working on Iranian-linked ships risks having his or her US work visas revoked, something that has attracted strong criticism from crewing trade unions.