Russian Navy Seen Escorting Iranian Tankers Bound for Syria

“Last July, an Iranian tanker destined for Syria, Adrian Darya-1, was seized by U.K. Royal Marines off Gibraltar”

Last week, the Iranian-flagged oil tanker Samah entered the Mediterranean Sea via the Suez Canal. After a few miles, the 900-foot-long ship stopped reporting its position and destination. Evidence suggests the ship sailed to Syria, escorted by two Russian Navy ships, including a destroyer.

Russia’s role in protecting the shipment may change the dynamics in the Eastern Mediterranean. In the past, Iranian tankers sailing to Syria have been intercepted by the U.K. Royal Navy. The Russian Navy escort could be viewed as a precautionary step, raising the political and military risks of any intervention by the Royal Navy or others.

Last July, an Iranian tanker destined for Syria, Adrian Darya-1, was seized by U.K. Royal Marines off Gibraltar. The British accused Iran of supplying Syria with oil in contravention of European Union sanctions. Iran quickly seized a British-flagged tanker in a likely retaliatory move. Eventually, in September, Adrian Darya-1 was released by a local court with the assurance that it would not deliver its oil to Syria – but days later, it transshipped its oil in Syrian waters.

Samah has taken the shorter Suez Canal route, avoiding the Strait of Gibraltar. According to data provided by MarineTraffic.com, after exiting the Suez Canal Samah disappeared from automated identification system tracking. AIS is a system used to alert ships of each other’s presence and is required to be used by ships of this size. Other ships in the vicinity remained visible on AIS, which implies that Samah deliberately stopped broadcasting. This is termed going “dark.”

At the same time, the Russian Navy ship Akademik Pashin was heading south from the Syrian Coast toward the Suez. The two ships likely met on Oct. 14, since the next day they were seen together by a passing commercial satellite, heading north towards Syria.

Accompanying them was a warship, believed to be the Udaloy-class destroyer Vice Admiral Kulakov. They were seen traveling in loose formation, with Akademiks Pashin leading the way and the destroyer in rear guard, according to open-source intelligence analyst Frank Bottema.

Destroyer Vice Admiral Kulakov

By the morning of Oct. 17, a tanker resembling Samah was anchored off the Baniyas oil terminal in Syria. Meanwhile, Akademik Pashin was sailing west toward Greece.

The Russian Navy has hinted it would be more active in escorting merchant ships in the region. After the Iranian delivery, the Russian Navy has publicized an exercise off Syria, meant to protect “smooth passage of civilian ships.” A simulated attack by a submarine was dealt with by Vice Admiral Kulakov, which may be intended to send a message to allies and potential adversaries alike that Russia will actively prevent any interference with the Iranian shipments.

Russia now maintains a permanent squadron in the Mediterranean, based in Tartus, Syria. This includes submarines and large warships. If Moscow decides the Iran-Syria oil run is now a regular mission for the Russian Navy, it’s set to complicate enforcement of international sanctions which could otherwise shut down one of the Syrian regime’s vital lifelines.

Source: USNI News

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Comments (9)
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  • Mr. Evans

    First Off . . . The Legitimate Syrian Government Is “NOT” A Regime As The War Criminal Regime West Calls Them . . . They Have Everything Inverted, Reversed And Upended Which Is By Design . . . ;-0

    • itchyvet

      It’s an AMERICAN web site. What else would they say, to support their wet dream of conquering Syria. Repeat their lies enough to make them reality.
      Sadly, there are idiots who believe everything coming from their mouths, that is until they find themselves on the receiving end, then it’s too late.

      • Mr. Evans

        Precisely . . . Karma Can Be A Real Beoch . . . It Will Come Back On Them Big Time . . . . ;-0

  • James Willy

    @tom Wonder if they will have the balls to use them for a change? Russia never fights back. Just benz to the seppo. Yes massa. Yessir. Useless idiots.

    • Mr. Evans

      Sounds Like You Are A Useless Idiot Jimmy Willy . . . Ouch . . . lol . . .

  • tom greg

    And those Russian ships will very soon be armed with Zircon missiles. Not to be messed with….

    • Mr. Evans

      Excellent . . . 😉

  • itchyvet

    About bloody time too I’d say. What’s the point od claiming to have each other’s backs if they don’t front up ? Well done Russia, when is China going to do the same ? Beats me why Iran does not provide cover to these tankers with their much vaunted missile boats at least part way.

  • thomas malthaus

    https://www.rt.com/business/504239-russia-worlds-largest-gold-mine/

    Russia’s gold mine in Siberia.

    I was perusing the internet and realized Germany doesn’t have an operating gold or silver mine.

    An accompanying story states that Russia secures more profits from gold sales than from natural gas. I’m not sure about that, but as a small aside, money is pouring into US mining stocks.

    According to Steve St. Angelo’s work, it takes more ore processing to secure an ounce of gold. Gold mines such as the one mentioned above are few and far between. The same is being mentioned about silver, though silver exists in situ in an 8:1 ratio to gold, down from what traditionally was assumed as either 10 or 12:1.

    It’s all very interesting as Steve discusses the global Energy Cliff. His work can be found at srsroccoreports.com and he has a Twitter page where conversations with readers are ongoing about the metals and energy.

    I’m not his paid shill. He’s the only alt-media analyst that has discussed both subjects with any passion. He frequently quotes Dr. Louis Arnoux and Dr. Charles Hall.

    The overriding message is that fossil fuels aren’t forever.