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Norwegian Oil Tanker Attacked In May Headed To Iran Delivering Oil Products

Norwegian oil tanker Andrea Victory, one of the four tankers damaged in alleged "sabotage attacks", May 13, 2019

In a strange turn of events, a Norwegian oil tanker sabotaged on May 12 in Fujairah territorial waters in the Persian Gulf region is on its way to Iran.

Product tanker Andrea Victory suffered a gash in aft tank after an unknown object hit it on May 12, said tanker's management company Thome Ship Management in a May 13 statement.

Andrea Victory is now back to business and on its way to Port Imam Khomeini (former Bandar-e Shahpur) from Oman, apparently to deliver petroleum products, after a recent ship-to-ship transfer in Fujairah, in the UAE, Tanker Trackers firm twitted.

Meanwhile, Bloomberg has confirmed that the Norwegian tanker is sailing in the northern Persian Gulf and signaling Iran's Bandar Imam Khomeini as its destination.

The United Arab Emirates said Sunday, May 12; four merchant vessels had been targeted by "acts of sabotage" off its coast, amid rising tensions between neighboring Iran and the U.S.

U.S. officials said that Washington blamed Iran and its proxies for the recent tanker bombings near the United Arab Emirates and a rocket attack in Iraq.

A month later, on June 13, two more oil tankers were attacked in the Gulf of Oman. One was left ablaze and both adrift.

Once again, The U.S., Britain, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) blamed Iran for the attacks, while Germany implicitly pointed the finger at Tehran.

Iran has denied its involvement in the attacks, describing them as "suspicious."

In the meantime, it is not yet clear what type of oil product the Norwegian tanker is carrying for Iran.

In February last year, Iran declared that the third phase of its Persian Gulf refinery had become operational, making the country self-sufficient in producing gasoline.

However, Iran has a serious problem with gasoline smuggling. At least, 11 million liters (2.9 million U.S. gallons) of oil products are smuggled out of Iran every day, according to the most conservative estimate by Iranian officials.

A high volume of smuggling gasoline out of Iran could lead to the country's dependence on importing the product.

Iran is self-sufficient in other oil products, including fuel oil, diesel oil, and even products used in petrochemical industries, such as naphtha.

U.S. sanctions imposed on the Islamic Republic prohibit trade in Iranian oil and refined products.