Oil Tanker Bombed Near Persian Gulf Is Shipping Fuel to Iran
An oil tanker damaged in a bombing that was blamed on Iran is back in business. The ship’s first destination: Iran.
The Andrea Victory is sailing in the northern Persian Gulf and signaling Iran’s Bandar Imam Khomeini as a destination, according to ship tracking data compiled by Bloomberg. The data show the vessel, which was attacked off the coast of the United Arab Emirates in May, is full and transporting fuel to Iran.
Tanker bombings this year inflamed tensions in the Gulf as the U.S. and Saudi Arabia blamed Iran for targeting the vessels and putting oil flows at risk. Iran denies involvement in the attacks. Iran and European countries are in a standoff over the Islamic republic’s adherence to the 2015 nuclear deal and the seizure by U.K. forces of a cargo of Iranian crude.
The Norwegian-flagged Andrea Victory was one of four vessels damaged by explosions off the U.A.E. port of Fujairah in May. Two other tankers were bombed close to Iranian territorial waters in June. Fujairah, the Gulf’s main oil-trading hub, sits just outside the Strait of Hormuz, the strategic chokepoint at the entrance to the Gulf.
The Andrea Victory, after repairs in Dubai’s Port Rashid, appears to have loaded fuel in a ship-to-ship transfer near Fujairah earlier this month, according to tanker tracking. It was unclear what type of fuel the vessel is carrying.
The vessel’s operations have returned to “business as usual,” said Dustin Eno, a crisis response manager at Navigate PR, which works on behalf of the ship’s manager Thome Group. Eno, who spoke by phone on July 1, declined to comment on where the ship was headed. Representatives for the vessel couldn’t immediately be reached Sunday.
U.S. sanctions prohibit trade in Iranian oil and refined products. Iran has in the past imported refined fuels to meet domestic demand, even as it expands its own refining capacity.