A kaleidoscope of front companies in Lebanon has been buying and selling oil tankers in a bid to secretly transfer oil from Iran to Syria, in defiance of US sanctions, it can be revealed today.
The uncovered tankers were involved in offloading the oil from the infamous Grace 1, which was briefly impounded by the UK in July on suspicion of breaking European sanctions brought against Damascus because of the ongoing bloody civil war.
Gibraltar released the ship on August 15 after receiving written assurances from Iran that it would not discharge its cargo of around 2 million barrels of oil in Syria. At the time, the ship changed its name to the Adrian Darya 1 and took on a new crew.
But the ship sailed east from Gibraltar, close to the coast of Syria where the British and American authorities say it began offloading its cargo.
The National today exposes the process the Adrian Darya 1 used to offload its cargo and some of the companies involved in the sanction-skirting activity.
Starting in early October a tanker called Jasmine conducted ship-to-ship transfers off the coast of Syria with the Adrian Darya 1.
Following its ship-to-ship transfers with Adrian Darya 1, according to US-based company TankerTrackers.com, the Jasmine delivered the crude via a submarine pipeline leading to the Baniyas refinery.
TankerTrackers.com co-founder Samir Madani explained to The National that the Adrian Darya 1 was too heavily laden and therefore too deep to approach the shallow delivery point itself.
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