The announcement by the United Kingdom of the seizure of the Iranian oil tanker “Grace 1” in Gibraltar by the Spanish authorities questions about why the carrier took the long road towards Syria.

It is usual for Iranian ships to transport oil shipments from Iran to Syria from the Gulf and then revolve around the Arabian Peninsula to enter the Red Sea and then enter from the Suez Canal to the Mediterranean Sea and eventually reach the Syrian ports.

It takes 3500 nautical miles, or about one day or more, and is less than the distance of long ocean voyages, such as the Iranian carrier Grace 1, which took a different and long route around Africa on a 12,000-nautical voyage to Syria.

Iran has delivered cheap or free oil to its ally in Damascus for years, because most Syrian oil fields aren’t under the control of the Syrian government.

According to a report by the Persian radio, between January 2017 and October 2018, Iran delivered 50,000 barrels of oil per day to Damascus.

With the average world oil prices averaging about $ 3 million a day or more than $ 1 billion a year.

However, the flow of oil to Syria stopped in November 2018, when the United States imposed sanctions on Iranian oil exports.

Since then, Syria began to suffer from a serious fuel shortage, with long queues of cars at gas stations in Damascus, the media widely reported.

Iranian oil shipments resumed in the past two months, according to Tanker Trakers, which confirmed that Iran was delivering an average of 100,000 bpd to Syria.

A recent report said that an Iranian tanker carrying 1 million barrels was waiting off the Syrian coast unable to deliver its cargo because the underwater pipeline was blown up. The Syrian regime then blamed the “foreign force” for the explosion.

Later, Syria announced that the pipeline had been repaired. In turn, Tanker Trackers confirmed that the Iranian carrier finally unloaded its cargo on Tuesday, July 2, while another Iranian tanker was on its way there.

Most of the tankers bound for Syria carrying Iranian oil seem to have taken the short route through Suez, but “Grace 1” has cut the long way to reach Syria.

The radio report attributed the reason for the Iranian carrier heading towards the road that passes through Gibraltar, to prevent Saudi Arabia from unloading part of the heavy cargo of the tanker, and consequently the carrier was unable to cross the Suez Canal of this size of the load.

Saudi Arabia is part of the pipeline and does not allow Iranian oil destined for Syria to benefit from the unloading facility.

Giant oil tankers cannot cross the Suez Canal if they exceed the depth of their 20-meter cruiser.

If the tanker exceeds this depth, it can unload some of its cargo before entering the channel, which is re-pumped into the tanker as it crosses the other side of the channel.

According to Tanker Trackers, the “Grace 1” tanker sailed deeper than 20 meters into the water because of its heavy load.

For his part, the Iranian Revolutionary Guard threatened Britain to detain a British tanker in response to the detention of the tanker was on its way to Syria.

Mohsen Rezaie, one of the senior commanders of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards, said on Friday it would be Tehran’s “duty” to detain a British oil tanker if the Iranian tanker in Gibraltar wasn’t immediately released.

“If Britain doesn’t release the Iranian tanker, the Iranian authorities will have the duty to detain a British oil tanker” Mohsen Rezai tweeted.

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