[April 1]Maltese-flagged tanker Tour reached the Syrian port of Tartus at the weekend, where it loaded the 120,000 metric tonne (132,277 tons) cargo of light crude oil.
The vessel was last spotted near Port Said in Egypt, where is was due to arrive on April 4. Its final destination was not available but "I was asked to provide an option to ship to southern China or Singapore," the Chinese buyer as Zhuhai Zhenrong Corp, a state-run company hit by U.S. sanctions in January. Syria, a relatively modest oil exporter, has been able to sell its crude into Europe, its traditional destination until September last year when European Union and U.S. sanctions halted exports.
The crude oil cargo, worth around $84 million assuming a discounted price of about $100 a barrel, could provide Assad with much-needed funds after another round of sanctions designed to further isolate the country's ailing economy were imposed by the European Union last week. Syria planned to sell oil directly to the Chinese but had trouble finding a vessel. The Iranians, however, had stepped in to lend a helping hand through one of its Malta-based companies, which sent one of its ships to collect and deliver the cargo. ISIM Tour Limited, which is also registered in Malta and has been identified by the US Department of Treasury as a front company set up by Iran to evade sanctions. Malta was ready to de-register the entire Iranian fleet flying under the Maltese flag, perhaps even before the expiry of an EU clause honouring IRISL contracts until November 2013, after a possible review along such lines.
“We’re moving in that direction,” , with the reservation that Iran should not simply be allowed to relocate its ships to other European countries. “We believe that all services to IRISL should be prohibited,” Dr Borg said. “We are ready to make that sacrifice, provided that all countries also make the sacrifice. Otherwise it would be masochistic.”
9364112 TOUR Malta OT 81295 2007
Isim Tour Ltd
Marian Ship Management & Consultancy Services Pvt Ltd