ATHENS, Aug 20 (Reuters / EP) –
Greece has indicated on Tuesday that it has not received any request from the Iranian tanker in the middle of the dispute between Iran and the United States to dock at one of its ports, after Washington has warned Athens against helping the ship.
The 'Adrian Darya 1' –name with which the 'Grace 1' has been renamed – departed from Gibraltar this Sunday and navigation data showed this Tuesday that it is heading towards the Greek port of Kalamata, on the south coast of the Peloponnese, where it is expected to arrive next Monday.
“The ship is sailing at low speed and there is still no formal announcement that it will arrive in Kalamata. The Ministry of Merchant Marine is supervising the matter together with the Greek Foreign Ministry,” said a spokesman for the first department.
The tanker was released after being seized by Gibraltar in early July for allegedly transferring oil to Syria in violation of EU sanctions. After the arrest warrant was lifted, a US federal court ordered the ship seized for other reasons, but the request was rejected by Gibraltar.
On the other hand, the United States has indicated that it has transferred its “firm stance” on the tanker to the Greek Government. The case will be an important test for the foreign policy of the new Hellenic Prime Minister, Kyriakos Mitsotakis, elected in the July elections.
Any effort to help the tanker could be considered as offering material support to an organization considered as a terrorist by the United States, which has potential criminal and migratory consequences, a State Department official warned.
A diplomatic source cited by the Greek state news agency ANA has indicated that the country is in communication with the United States on the case, but has not clarified what Greece will do.
As a rule, ships usually advise 48 hours before docking at a port, according to Greek authorities. It is not clear where the ship could go if Greece denied permission to dock.
Washington wants the tanker to be arrested on the basis that he is linked to the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, which he has designated as a terrorist organization.