situation report

Iran: Released Supertanker Heads East From Gibraltar

1 MIN READAug 19, 2019 | 16:14 GMT

What Happened: The Iranian supertanker Adrian Darya, formerly known as the Grace 1, departed Gibraltar after local authorities rejected a U.S. request to allow it to seize the vessel, the BBC reported Aug. 19. The ship is now heading east and lists Kalamata, Greece, as its destination.

Why It Matters: While it's possible that the vessel will indeed continue toward Greece as indicated, it's also possible that it could offload its oil cargo to smaller ships either as a means to smuggle the vessel's oil into Syria or remove enough to allow the Adrian Darya to pass through the Suez Canal.

Background: British Royal Marines seized the vessel as it neared the Mediterranean Sea on July 4 on suspicion that it was planning to take oil to Syria in violation of EU sanctions. Two weeks later, Iran detained the British tanker Stena Impero in the Strait of Hormuz in what was seen as a retaliatory move.

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