TankerTrackers.com has visual confirmation that an Iranian tanker is discharging gasoil in Syria's Baniyas port which is destined for neighbouring Lebanon, the online oil shipment tracking service said on Tuesday.
"Unable to deliver directly by sea to Lebanon due to sanctions, the vessel went instead to Baniyas, Syria, for land transfer," the firm said on Twitter, referring to U.S. economic sanctions on the government in Tehran. Syria is also under U.S. sanctions, so has nothing to lose from receiving the oil.
It will require 1,310 trucks to transport the cargo to Lebanon, it added, estimating the cargo at 33,000 metric tons of gasoil.
Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, leader of Lebanon's armed Shi'ite movement Hezbollah, said on Monday that a first ship carrying Iranian fuel oil to help Lebanon through its financial crisis had docked in Syria on Sunday and the shipment should reach Lebanon by Thursday.
He added a second ship with fuel oil would arrive in the Syrian port of Baniyas in a few days, with a third and fourth, respectively carrying gasoline and fuel oil, also due.
Daily life has been almost paralysed as fuel dries up because Lebanon lacks the dollars to pay for it. The state-owned power company is generating only minimal electricity, leaving businesses and households almost entirely dependent on small, private generators that run on fuel oil.
A financial crisis has wiped 90% off the value of the Lebanese pound since 2019, pushed food prices up by more than 550%, and propelled three-quarters of the population into poverty. The World Bank has called it one of the deepest depressions of modern history.