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The United States will respond aggressively to any party helping the now notorious Iranian tanker Adrian Darya 1, formerly Grace 1, which was released from Gibraltar earlier this week.
Reuters quotes an unnamed State Department official as saying “The shipping sector is on notice that we will aggressively enforce U.S. sanctions. All parties in the shipping sector should conduct appropriate due diligence to ensure that they are not doing business with nor facilitating business for, directly or indirectly, sanctioned parties or with sanctioned cargo.”
The warning comes on the heels of Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s threat of sanctions on “anyone who touches” the vessel.
“We have made clear that anyone who touches it, anyone who supports it, anyone who allows a ship to dock is at risk of receiving sanctions from the United States,” Pompeo said. “If that ship again heads to Syria we will take every action we can consistent with those sanctions to prevent that.”
The tanker is currently sailing through the Mediterranean, and the latest positioning, according to TankerTrackers.com, has the vessel headed Southeast around Sicily, carefully avoiding EU waters after it earlier faced the proverbial “fork in the road”. The tanker had two choices: to sail back into EU waters to eventually head through Strait of Messina, or sail around Sicily to reach international waters offshore Greece. It chose the latter. Greece, however, has been warned by the US that it should not assist the tanker, with Greece saying that the country will not allow the tanker to dock at a Greek port. The Greeks also said the Adrian Darya 1 had no made a request for docking.
Gibraltar released the Iranian vessel after Tehran assured it the cargo will not go to Syria, which is under EU sanctions. These sanctions were the reason it seized it in the first place and that seizure prompted an in-kind response from Tehran.
However, the latter has said there was no link between the tanker seizures so British-flagged Stena Impero has yet to be released from Iran. There have been reports that this could happen soon, after the owner of the tanker met with Iran’s Foreign Minister to discuss the issue.
By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com
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Irina is a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing on the oil and gas industry.