Tanker Carrying Syrian Oil Passes Through Egypt's Suez Canal, Despite Sanctions
A tanker, identified by the U.S. as being owned by a sanctions-eluding company set up by Iran, has passed through the Suez Canal in Egypt earlier this week.
The M.T. Tour is owned by ISIM Tour Ltd. The ship had been detained by Egyptian authorities for five days for not paying passage fees through the canal, says Reuters. Ships are ensured a right of passage through the area during both war and peacetime.
An official working at the Canal confirmed that the tanker had a crude cargo and was travelling from Syria to Singapore, and added that the M.T. Tour was permitted to pass through the Suez only after the required fees were paid. Reuters adds that the vessel was shipping a cargo of 120,000 tons of Syrian crude to a state-run Chinese company.
The tanker was also carrying a Maltese flag, but was now registered under a Bolivian flag. The official had no knowledge of any link with Iran. Malta said it was delisting the M.T. Tour on learning that it was carrying Syrian oil in breach of international sanctions.
Western and Arab countries have enforced sanctions on Syria in an effort to force President Bashar al-Assad to end his restriction on a civilian uprising that has slowly turned into an armed rebellion. The United Nations estimates that some 9,000 civilians have been killed.