The Adrian Darya 1 and its 2.1 million barrels of Iranian oil have gone dark, disappearing from satellite tracking off Syria's coast somewhere between it and Cyprus. According to its last signaling data the vessel is still full.
It's transponder signal switching off was somewhat to be expected given analysts early this week said it would likely "go dark" within days in order to attempt a ship-to-ship transfer of the oil to ultimately offload it to its buyer, still believed to be Syria.
The #AdrianDarya1 has now gone presumably dark off the AIS grid as signals aren't arriving via terrestrial VHF listening stations or via Satellite-AIS. She's been offline for over 100 minutes. We'll wait and see because this sort of thing happens at times. No rumors, thanks. pic.twitter.com/cAD4csSe4V— TankerTrackers.com, Inc.⚓️🛢 (@TankerTrackers) September 2, 2019
Crucially, there's still a US seizure warrant out for the Iran-flagged vessel after its release last month from UK/Gibraltar custody over Washington's objections. The US has since pressured Greece, Lebanon, and Egypt and its vital Suez Canal to not give the tanker any assistance or passage.
According to Bloomberg its lost signal placed the ship to the west of the Lebanon-Syria border as it was heading north.
Tuesday afternoon the Adrian Darya was identified via satellite about 70km west of the Syrian port of Tartus, still in international waters. Tankers believed owned by Syria or Syria-connected entities were also observed in the vicinity, possibly preparing to receive the Iranian oil.
The Unites States says the tanker is controlled by the Iranian Revolutionary Guards and thus deems any state's interaction with it support of a formally designated terrorist group.
Days ago US officials cited "reliable information" the vessel still intended to transport its oil to Syria in defiance of EU and US sanctions.
“We have reliable information that the tanker is underway and headed to Tartus, Syria,” US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a tweet on Friday.
By all current appearances this appears accurate, however, the question remains over whether the US or its allies are actually going to do anything about it.