Iranian Oil Tanker is ‘Not Heading Towards’ Greece, Prime Minister Mitsotakis Says

Iranian Oil Tanker is ‘Not Heading Towards’ Greece, Prime Minister Mitsotakis Says

18:12 22.08.2019

Adrian Darya, an oil tanker detained by Gibraltar authorities in July which has since been released, is now reportedly heading eastward towards the Greek port of Kalamata.

The Iranian tanker Adrian Darya has not requested a docking permit from Greek maritime authorities, meaning it is not currently en route to Greece, Greek Prime Minister Kyrikos Mitsotakis told France 24 on Thursday, 22 August.

“The ship is not heading towards Greece. We have not received a request for it to dock in a Greek port,” said Mitsotakis, according to Reuters.

Greek Deputy Foreign Minister Miltiadis Varvitsiotis told Greece’s ANT1 television on Wednesday that Greece would not provide assistance to the Iranian tanker in delivering oil to Syria, as it was making its way through the Mediterranean after being released from Gibraltar.

“We have sent a clear message that we would not want to facilitate the trafficking of this oil to Syria in any instance,” – said Varvitsiotis.

The Deputy Foreign Minister said that the United States had been briefed on the matter and commented “will see what will happen” in the event that the vessel drops anchor in Greek territorial waters without permission.

The Adrian Darya, formerly known as the Grace 1, was detained in Gibraltar in July 2019 on suspicion of carrying oil to Syria in violation of the EU sanctions and released on Sunday, 19 August; after that it entered international waters. It is believed to be carrying 2 million barrels of crude oil.

Washington declared its intentions to seize the tanker, claiming that it had violated sanctions against Syria and issuing a warrant on 16 August – the request that was rejected by Gibraltar authorities. The Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps later seized the UK-flagged vessel Stena Impero, an oil tanker in the Strait of Hormuz in what was largely thought to be a retaliatory measure, arguing that it had allegedly violated international maritime regulations.