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Iranian Tanker Adrian Darya 1 Alters Destination to Mersin, Turkey

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The Adrian Darya 1 at anchor off Gibraltar (video still via social media)

By The Maritime Executive 2019-08-23 21:38:31

The closely-watched Iranian tanker Adrian Darya 1, formerly known as Grace 1, has altered her AIS destination to Mersin, Turkey, ending speculation over whether she would attempt to call at a port in Greece. 

On July 4, British Royal Marines boarded the VLCC Adrian Darya 1 in the Strait of Gibraltar and seized her on suspicion of trafficking oil to Syria, a violation of EU sanctions. She was taken to Gibraltar and held until last Friday, when a court ordered her release. She got under way once more on Sunday, and over the course of the week she has moved slowly eastwards through the Mediterranean, broadcasting her destination as the port of Kalamata, Greece. 

Kalamata is a small regional port, and it lacks the water depth needed to berth a laden VLCC. Greek officials have said that that they never received a request from the ship to call at the port. "The ship is not heading towards Greece. We have not received a request for it to dock in a Greek port," Greek Prime Minister Kyrikos Mitsotakis told France 24 TV in an interview Thursday.

The port of Mersin, Turkey also lacks the water depth to accommodate a vessel of Adrian Darya's draft within the harbor. 

The U.S. State Department has repeatedly warned all members of the maritime community not to assist the vessel in delivering her cargo to Syria. “All parties in the shipping sector should conduct appropriate due diligence to ensure that they are not doing business with nor facilitating business for, directly or indirectly, sanctioned parties or with sanctioned cargo,” an unnamed official told Reuters Thursday.