The Windward blog on 5th July published a post that begins by saying that: Panamanian flag, Singaporean manager, Iranian oil: 6 words and 3 countries that tell the multinational story of the Grace 1, the tanker detained in Gibraltar apparently en route to Syria and carrying Iranian oil. It says that it is unrelated or seemingly “innocent” ships that are use for sanctions-busting now and, in the past 60 days, Iranian-flagged tankers made less than a handful of port calls outside their home country. North Korean tankers had none. It also claims that the ship was last detected in port almost 2 years ago, in Qingdao, China. Since then, it’s been operating continuously at sea; any port calls it may have made have been masked by turning off its mandatory AIS transmissions. It goes on to say that the Grace1 is not unique – claiming that in May, 19 crude oil tankers (3% of all crude tankers operating in the Gulf) went dark while operating in the area, behaviour said to be indicative of sanctions evasion – 8 were Iranian flagged but the others were Panamanian (7), Liberian (2) and Vietnamese (2). It also said that these 11 tankers went on to make 68 ship-to-ship meetings offshore Fujairah, in the UAE, in May-June.
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