x

Society

Iranian Tanker Sought by US Heading Toward Greece

August 19, 2019

An Iranian supertanker with $130 million worth of light crude oil that the U.S. suspects is tied to a sanctioned organization has left Gibraltar and was heading Monday east into the Mediterranean Sea, with its next destination reported to be Greece.

The Iran-flagged Adrian Darya 1, previously named Grace 1, set course for Kalamata, Greece, with an estimated arrival on Aug. 25, according to ship tracking service MarineTraffic. It wasn’t immediately clear why the tanker would be heading there or whether the destination could change.

The vessel left Gibraltar late on Sunday after having been detained for a month in the British overseas territory for allegedly attempting to breach European Union sanctions on Syria. Gibraltar authorities rejected attempts by the U.S. to seize the oil tanker again, arguing that EU regulations are less strict than U.S. sanctions on Iran.

Gibraltar said it had been assured by Iran that the tanker wouldn’t unload its cargo in Syria.

Iranian government officials have yet to publicly acknowledge the ship’s next destination, or where it will discharge its cargo of 2.1 million barrels of crude oil. Iran has denied it was ever headed for Syria.

The tanker’s release comes amid a growing confrontation between Iran and the West after President Donald Trump pulled Washington out of Tehran’s nuclear deal with world powers over a year ago.

Shortly after the tanker’s detention in early July, Iran seized the British-flagged oil tanker Stena Impero, which remains held by the Islamic republic. Analysts had said the Iranian ship’s release by Gibraltar might mean that the Stena Impero could go free.

But Iranian officials denied there was any link between the two ships.

“There is no specific relation between these two ships,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi said of the Stena Impero and the Adrian Darya 1. “We are glad that our stance about the unlawful and illegal seizure of our tanker has been proven.”

“Regarding the release of the law-breaking British tanker (Stena Impero), we have to wait for the court’s ruling,” he added. “This tanker has committed two to three nautical violations that are being investigated. We hope that these investigations will finish as soon as possible and a verdict will be issued and if the verdict orders its release, it can continue to sail its path.”

In a last-ditch effort to stop the release, the U.S. unsealed a warrant Friday to seize the Adrian Darya 1 and its cargo, citing violations of U.S. sanctions as well as money laundering and terrorism statutes.

U.S. officials told reporters that the oil aboard the ship was worth some $130 million and that it was destined for a designated terror organization.

The unsealed court documents argued that Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps are the ship’s true owners through a network of front companies.

Authorities in Gibraltar said Sunday that, unlike in the U.S., the Iran’s Revolutionary Guard is not designated a terrorist organization under EU, U.K. or Gibraltar law.

The Iranian spokesman warned Monday against any order by the U.S. Justice Department to have the renamed ship seized again.

“If such an action is taken or even if it is stated verbally and not done, it is considered a threat against the maritime security in international waters,” said Mousavi. “The Islamic Republic of Iran has given necessary warnings to the U.S. officials through official channels, especially the Swiss Embassy in Tehran, not to commit such a mistake which (could) bring them severe consequences.”

The Iranian ship was detained while sailing under a Panamanian flag with the name Grace 1. It changed the name on Sunday and hoisted an Iranian flag.

By CIARAN GILES Associated Press

RELATED

ATHENS - The Financial Crime Police are conducting an investigation into all the homes run by the child charity "Kivotos tou Kosmou" (Ark of the World) and into 15 individuals in charge of the management of the organsiation.

Top Stories

Columnists

A pregnant woman was driving in the HOV lane near Dallas.

General News

FALMOUTH, MA – The police in Falmouth have identified the victim in an accident involving a car plunging into the ocean on February 20, NBC10 Boston reported.

General News

NEW YORK – Meropi Kyriacou, the new Principal of The Cathedral School in Manhattan, was honored as The National Herald’s Educator of the Year.

Video

Search Effort Intensifies after Indonesia Quake Killed 271

CIANJUR, Indonesia — More rescuers and volunteers were deployed Wednesday in devastated areas on Indonesia's main island of Java to search for the dead and missing from an earthquake that killed at least 271 people.

A frigid November  20th Sunday was a Greek derby day with the NY Pancyprian Freedoms playing the NY Greek Americans in the Metropolitan division of the Eastern Premier Soccer League  (EPSL) and in the Over 30 division of the  Long Island Soccer Football League (LISFL).

After a late goal from Asteras Tripolis New York, the Hellenic-American soccer team ended its fall regular season in a 2-2 draw against historic Cosma Damiano at College Point Field on last Sunday evening.

AL KHOR, Qatar. The United States frustrated England in a 0-0 draw on Friday for its second consecutive tie in the World Cup.

Here's a collection curated by The Associated Press' entertainment journalists of what's arriving on TV, streaming services and music and video game platforms this week.

Enter your email address to subscribe

Provide your email address to subscribe. For e.g. abc@xyz.com

You may unsubscribe at any time using the link in our newsletter.