Iranian Tanker Adrian Darya 1 Offloads Oil Cargo in Syria

Adrian Darya 1 and Jasmine offload oil at Baniyas (U.S. State Department)

Published Oct 9, 2019 8:25 PM by The Maritime Executive

Satellite imagery shows that the blacklisted Iranian VLCC Adrian Darya 1 has finally begun offloading her cargo at the port of Baniyas, Syria, despite U.S. and EU sanctions. 

According to the U.S. State Department, a satellite image dated October 2 shows the Adrian Darya 1 rafted up with the Iranian LR1 Jasmine for an apparent ship-to-ship transfer. An image from October 4 shows the Jasmine at the offshore terminal for the Baniyas refinery (above). 

"Oil from the Adrian Darya 1 has been offloaded in Syria, proving that Iran lied to the UK and Gibraltar," said U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in a Twitter post. "This terrorist oil will fund Assad’s war and Iran’s sectarian violence. EU members should condemn this action, uphold the rule of law, and hold Iran accountable."

In 2011, the EU placed sanctions on the Syrian petroleum sector in order to put pressure on the administration of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, which was in the early stages of a long fight with anti-government rebels. The EU sanctions are limited in scope to EU entities and EU business activities, and they are not broadly applicable to foreign companies doing business outside of Europe.

In July, the Adrian Darya 1 was boarded and seized by Royal Marines as she transited the Strait of Gibraltar. She was held on suspicion of carrying oil through the waters of Gibraltar to reach Syria, an alleged violation of EU sanctions. She was released  August 16 after Gibraltar received assurances from the Iranian government that she would not deliver its cargo to Baniyas. 

After a meandering journey eastwards, she arrived off the coast of Lebanon on September 1. She then turned north towards Syria and her AIS signal disappeared. Satellite imagery consultancy TankerTrackers confirmed that she remained in place off the port of Tartus in laden condition throughout the month of September.