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Iranian tanker pictured off Syrian port

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Iranian tanker pictured off Syrian port

Iranian tanker pictured off Syrian port

The Iranian oil tanker Adrian Darya 1 at the center of a dispute between Tehran and Western powers, which went dark off Syria earlier in the week, has been photographed by satellite off the Syrian port of Tartus, Maxar Technologies Inc., a U.S. space technology company said on Saturday.

Sarah Charlton reports.


Iranian tanker pictured off Syrian port

An Iranian oil tanker which was the centre of a major dispute between Tehran and the west has been pictured by satellite off the coast of Syria.

Images supplied by a U.S. space technology company, show the vessel - formally named Grace 1 - near the Syrian port of Tartus on September 6 - the day it was blacklisted by Washington.

Ship-tracking data suggests the tanker, which is loaded with Iranian crude, turned off its transponder earlier in the week.

Grace 1 was detained by British Royal Marines off Gibraltar in July as it was suspected to be en route to Syria in violation of European Union sanctions.

Two weeks later, Iran in retaliation seized a British-flagged tanker in the Strait of Hormuz.

Gibraltar released the Iranian ship after receiving written assurances from Tehran that the ship would not discharge its 2.1 million barrels of oil in Syria.

But shipping sources say the tanker is likely to conduct a ship-to-ship transfer for part of its cargo.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) BRIAN HOOK, THE U.S. SENIOR ADVISER FOR IRAN POLICY, SAYING: "The IRGC has been running an illicit petroleum shipping network over the last several months.

This network has moved hundreds of millions of dollars worth of illicit oil." Washington has warned any state against assisting the ship, saying it would consider that support for a terrorist organization, namely, Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard.

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