A tanker filled with Iranian oil is headed towards Syria, in violation of American sanctions, Western intelligence sources told Fox News on Tuesday.
The tanker, Bonita Queen, loaded 600,000 barrels of crude oil on August 2 near the Iranian coast at Kharg Island.
Shortly after the tanker was de-flagged by the country of St. Kitts and Nevis, fearing retaliatory US sanctions, according to the officials.
The vessel is now headed to Dubai, where it will refuel before beginning a monthslong journey around the horn of Africa, through the Mediterranean and to the shores of Syria.
The sources said the ship plans to meet two Syrian owned oil tankers in the Mediterranean later this year and conduct a ship-to-ship transfer of the crude oil.
This transfer would be an additional violation of American sanctions since the US Treasury Department already sanctioned the two Syrian tankers in March of this year. The tankers, named the Kader and the Jasmine, are both scheduled to meet the Bonita Queen to assist with the transfer.
The report follows the recent saga surrounding the Iranian Grace 1 oil tanker, which was seized in Gibraltar in early July on the grounds that it was attempting to transport oil to Syria, a violation of EU sanctions.
Iran later seized the British-flagged Stena Impero in the Persian Gulf. However, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif denied the move was an act of revenge for the capture of the Iranian tanker, claiming Iran had taken measures against the ship to implement international law.
Earlier this week, the Grace 1, which renamed itself Adrian Darya 1, was freed by Gibraltar and left its waters after local authorities rejected an eleventh-hour attempt by the United States to recapture the oil tanker.
On Monday, the US State Department warned the international community against assisting the Iranians in smuggling oil in wake of the Adrian Darya 1 saga.