DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — An Iranian oil tanker sought by the US on Friday again listed its destination as Turkey, further obscuring where its 2.1 million barrels of oil will go.
The crew of the Adrian Darya 1, formerly known as the Grace 1, changed its listed destination in its Automatic Identification System to Iskenderun, Turkey, a small port on the Mediterranean Sea.
However, mariners can input any destination into the AIS, so Turkey may not be its true destination. On August 24, it had listed its destination as Mersin, Turkey, before removing that from its system. Earlier, it had said it was going to Greece.
Iskenderun is some 200 kilometers (125 miles) by sea from a refinery in Baniyas, Syria, where authorities alleged the Adrian Darya had been heading before being seized off Gibraltar in early July.
Iranian state media and officials did not immediately acknowledge the new reported destination of the Adrian Darya, which carries Iranian crude oil worth some $130 million. Nor was there any immediate reaction from Turkey, whose President Recep Tayyip Erdogan deals directly with Tehran and Russia over Syria’s long civil war.
The tanker’s detention and later release by Gibraltar has fueled the growing tensions between Iran and the US after US President Donald Trump unilaterally withdrew America from Iran’s 2015 nuclear deal with world powers over a year ago.
In the time since, Iran has lost billions of dollars in business deals allowed by the deal as the US re-imposed and created sanctions largely blocking Tehran from selling crude oil aboard, a crucial source of hard currency for the Islamic Republic.
In US federal court documents, authorities allege the Adrian Grace’s true owner is Iran’s Revolutionary Guard, a paramilitary organization answerable only to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. The US declared the Guard a foreign terror organization in April, the first time America named a military force of a nation as such, giving it the legal power to issue a warrant for the vessel’s seizure. However, that would require another nation to acknowledge the writ.
On Monday, Iran said the oil on the Adrian Darya had been sold to an unnamed buyer. However, anyone buying it likely would be targeted by US financial sanctions. Analysts have suggested Iran may choose to offload the oil onto another ship first, given the international attention focused on the Adrian Darya.