Turkey say Iranian tanker is going to Lebanon who immediately deny it

Mystery surrounds destination of released Iranian oil tanker as Turkey say the vessel is heading to Lebanon… who immediately deny the ship is docking there

  • Turkey’s Foreign Minister said the Iranian oil tanker was going to Lebanon
  • Lebanon’s energy minister, Nada Boustani, was quick to deny this allegation
  • She said there has been no request for the oil tanker to enter Lebanon
  • Adrian Darya 1, formerly named the Grace 1, was seized by Gibraltar on July 4 
  • It was ordered to be released on August 15 despite a last-minute legal bid by US 
  • Iran sold the oil on the tanker, worth more than $140 million, to a mystery buyer

Mystery surrounds the destination of the Iranian tanker released earlier this month by Gibraltar after Lebanon denied allegations by Turkey that it was travelling there. 

During a visit to Oslo, Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said the Adrian Darya 1 vessel was going to Lebanon.

But Lebanon’s Energy Minister, Nada Boustani, was quick to deny it and said the country hasn’t received a docking request from the Iranian tanker.

Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said the Iranian oil tanker (pictured) was heading to Lebanon but Lebanese Health Minister Nada Boustani denied the allegations and said there hasn’t been a docking request for the Iranian tanker

Today Mr Cavusoglu said: ‘This tanker is not heading actually to Iskenderun (in Turkey), this tanker is heading to Lebanon.’

The minister did not specify whether Lebanon was the tanker’s final destination.

‘We still buy gas from Iran, but we don’t buy oil,’ he stressed, adding that Turkey was monitoring the vessel’s progress ‘very closely’.

Ms Boustani denied the allegations on social media and said: ‘The energy ministry does not buy crude oil from any country and Lebanon does not own a crude oil refinery.

‘There is also no request for the Adrian Darya 1 oil tanker to enter Lebanon.’

Iran sold the oil which was on the detained tanker to a mystery buyer after it was released by Gibraltar earlier this month. 

The Adrian Darya 1, formerly named the Grace 1, was seized by Gibraltar police and British special forces on July 4 and detained for six weeks.

It had been suspected of being used to ship oil to Syria which would have been in breach of European Union sanctions.  

Iranian government spokesman Ali Rabiei said on Monday: ‘The Islamic Republic of Iran has sold the oil of this ship and right now the owner and buyer of the oil decides… what the destination of the consignment will be 

Mr Rabiei, who was quoted by state media, did not identify the buyer or say whether the oil had been sold before or after the tanker’s detention in the Strait of Gibraltar, on Spain’s southern tip.

A court in the British territory ordered the tanker’s release on August 15 despite a last-minute legal bid by the United States to have it detained.

The Adrian Darya 1 set sail three days later for the eastern Mediterranean, carrying 2.1 million barrels of oil worth more than $140 million.

The tanker’s final port of call is unknown. It initially listed its destination as Kalamata, Greece before switching it to Mersin, Turkey.

Iran sold oil the tanker, pictured flying an Iranian flag, to a mystery buyer after it was released by Gibraltar earlier this month. Iran said the tanker’s ‘destination is determined by the owner of the oil’ 

Rabiei said the sale and delivery of the oil would go ahead despite the ship being tracked by the United States.

‘The destination is determined by the owner of the oil,’ the Iranian government spokesman said, according to state television.

He accused the United States of ‘constantly monitoring’ the tanker and threatening other countries not to receive it.

‘This is more evidence for America’s interference at the global level,’ he said.

TIMELINE: What is happening in the Strait of Hormuz? 

July 4: Britain seizes an Iranian oil tanker the Grace 1 near Gibraltar, accusing it of violating sanctions on Syria.

July 11: The British HMS Montrose confronts Iranian vessels that tried to block a British-flagged tanker in the Strait of Hormuz.

July 12: HMS Duncan, a Type 45 destroyer, is sent to the Gulf to replace Montrose.

July 18: Iran confirms it seized the MT Riah, a UAE-based vessel, and claims it was ‘smuggling one million litres of fuel’. The ship had sent a distress call.

July 19: Iran’s Revolutionary Guards seize British ship Stena Impero and divert her into Iranian waters.

July 20: Propaganda video showing the moment Iranian Revolutionary Guard commandos drop from a helicopter to hijack the British-registered tanker is shared on Iranian state TV.

July 21: Iran hoists its flag over the Stena Impero a day after Britain reported Iran to the United Nations.

July 28: British destroyer HMS Duncan arrives in the Gulf to replace HMS Montrose. The ship had spent the past 28 days on patrol.

July 29: Iran’s President Rouhani pens an open letter to Boris Johnson, saying he hopes the countries’ diplomatic ties will be stronger under his leadership.

August 4: An Iraqi tanker is intercepted by Iran near Farsi Island and escorted to the south west coastal city of Bushehr. It was accused of smuggling 700,000 litres of fuel.

August 5: Defence Minister Ben Wallace announces the UK will join forces with America and others to ‘find an international solution to the problems in the Strait of Hormuz.’

Iran’s foreign minister says the country will no longer tolerate ‘maritime offences’ in the region.

August 8: US Department of Transportation’s Maritime Administration warns merchant ships of Iran reportedly sending fake signals to vessels in a bid to send them mistakenly sailing into Iranian waters.

August 11: Iran’s Revolutionary Guard shared a video in which they claimed to be pursuing a Royal Navy destroyer, but experts reveal it was most likely a UAE vessel. 

August 12: Type-23 frigate HMS Kent leaves Portsmouth Naval Base to take over duties in the Strait of Hormuz from Type 45 defender HMS Duncan.  

August 15: US tries to block the release of the Grace 1 but Gibraltar lets it go on written assurances from Tehran that it would not travel to Syria.

August 17: Iran changes the name of its tanker Grace 1 to Adrian Darya as it prepares to leave Gibraltar the next day.

August 24: Royal navy sends a third warship, HMS Defender, to the Gulf tohelp protect shipping in the region.

August 26: Iran sells oil, worth $140million, from the Grace 1/Adrian Darya tanker to a mystery buyer 

August 30:  Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said the vessel was heading to Lebanon but Lebanese Health Minister Nada Boustani, denied the allegations and said there hasn’t been a docking request for the Iranian tanker.

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