An Iranian oil tanker has been heading towards Syria, violating U.S. sanctions, reported Fox News on Tuesday, citing Western intelligence sources.
It also represents a violation of E.U. sanctions.
The Bonita Queen stored 600,000 barrels of crude oil earlier this month at Kharg Island near the Iranian coast.
The ship is currently heading to Dubai, “where it will refuel before beginning a month-long journey around the horn of Africa, through the Mediterranean and to the shores of Syria,” reported Fox News. “Sources say the ship plans to meet two Syrian-owned oil tankers in the Mediterranean later this year and conduct a ship-to-ship transfer of the crude oil.”
The transfer would violate additional U.S. sanctions as the U.S. Treasury previously sanctioned in March two Syrian tankers that “are both scheduled to meet the Bonita Queen to assist with the transfer.”
In related news, an Iranian oil tanker, the Grace 1, freed by the United Kingdom sailed for Greece on Monday, as Washington denounced its release from Gibraltar, and warned Athens and Mediterranean ports against assisting the ship.
The United States made an unsuccessful last-minute attempt to stop the freeing of the tanker, which was apparently renamed the Adrian Darya 1 before it left Gibraltar.
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo warned on Tuesday against helping the vessel, which is carrying 2 million barrels of oil.
“We have made clear that anyone who touches it, anyone who supports it, anyone who allows a ship to dock is at risk of receiving sanctions from the United States,” he told reporters at the United Nations, where he addressed the U.N. Security Council about the latest in the Middle East.
“If that ship again heads to Syria, we will take every action we can consistent with those sanctions to prevent that,” said Pompeo, adding that revenues from the oil sold from the tanker would benefit the Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps. “We want to deny them the resources to continue their horrific terror campaign.”