In a strange turn of events, a Norwegian oil tanker sabotaged on May 12 in Fujairah territorial waters in the Arabian Gulf region is on its way to Iran.
Product tanker Andrea Victory suffered a gash in the aft tank after an unknown object hit it on May 12, said the 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, UAE, Tanker Trackers firm tweeted.
Meanwhile, Bloomberg has confirmed that the Norwegian tanker is sailing in the northern Arabian Gulf and signaling Iran's Bandar Imam Khomeini as its destination.
The United Arab Emirates said Sunday, May 12 that four merchant vessels had been targeted by "acts of sabotage" off its coast, amid rising tensions between neighboring Iran and the US.
US officials said that Washington blamed Iran and its proxies for the recent tanker bombings near the UAE 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 US, Britain, Saudi Arabia and the 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 Arabian 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 US gallons) of oil products are smuggled out of Iran every day, according to the most conservative estimates 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.
US sanctions imposed on Iran prohibit trade in Iranian oil and refined products.