Iran has become Syria’s main crude oil buyer, helping Bashar Al-Assad’s flailing government to circumvent Western sanctions, as Iranian tankers have returned for a third time since April, shipping industry sources said.
Although Tehran already finds it difficult to sell its own crude under sanctions, two of its ships picked up Syrian oil late in July following a smaller purchase at the start of the same month.
Asia is the likely destination for the Syrian oil but the sources said it remained unclear where the previous cargoes ended up.
Iran sells its own crude to only a handful of buyers compared to its previous client list. China, India, Japan, Turkey have still been buying after overcoming shipping obstacles and South Korea will probably resume next month.
The MT Tour and MT Amin, two tankers under the flag of Sierra Leone and owned by Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines (IRISL), which is under United Nations sanctions, lifted around 140,000 metric tons each of Syrian Heavy crude from the Syrian port of Tartous in the last few days of July.
The name of the ship is Golsen (IMO: 9165815), and probably is now moving through the Suez Canal and heading to the Gulf of Oman while the other tanker is still in the Mediterranean, ship tracking data showed, and is heading to the Arab Gulf.
Source: / Reuters /