DAMASCUS – The latest information on the position of Iranian oil tanker Adrian Darya 1 indicates that the ship is now sailing in the eastern part of the Mediterranean Sea, a few kilometers off Syria’s west coast, media reports.
According to some sources quoted by Fox News, the tanker is now less than 10 nautical miles [18.5 km] off the Syrian coast.
Intelligence sources told the media that the ship’s captain, Akhilesh Kumar, has refused to cooperate with the planned delivery of oil and has asked to be fired from the post or replaced.
The ship is carrying 2.1 million barrels of Iranian crude, valued at about $130 million.
Iranian tanker Adrian Darya 1, formerly named Grace 1, had disappeared from maritime radar, transmitting its position for the last time on September 2, Marine Traffic reported.
Detention and sanctions
The vessel had been detained by the authorities of the British Overseas Territory of Gibraltar on a US charge alleging that the ship was carrying oil to Syria in violation of EU sanctions against Syria. Shortly thereafter, the US Treasury Department imposed sanctions on the ship and its captain.
Tehran denounced the allegations and clashed with London over the detention of the ship, which resulted in worsening bilateral relations between the two countries. Iran accused the United Kingdom of “piracy” on the grounds that the detention of the ship was a violation of the Iranian nuclear agreement.
The ship was subsequently released by order of the Gibraltar authorities.
Iran’s chief justice, Ebrahim Raisi, said in turn on Monday that releasing the ship was not enough, calling for lawsuits to compensate the damage and set an example for all those who violate international law by seizing ships.
The US will take steps to prevent Iranian tanker Grace 1 from delivering oil to Syria, said US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
In addition, the Secretary of State reiterated that the US will apply punitive measures against anyone assisting the Iranian tanker.