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Iranian Oil Tankers Go Dark With 1 1/2 Months to Go to Sanctions

  • Signals from at least 10 ships are a week or more out of date
  • Cause isn’t likely to be atmospheric conditions at this time
How Iran Could Counter U.S. Sanctions: Balance of Power
Photographer: Ali Mohammadi/Bloomberg

Iran’s oil tankers are starting to disappear from global satellite tracking systems with just under six weeks to go until U.S. sanctions are due to hit the country’s exports, making it harder to keep track of the nation’s sales.

No signals have been received by shore stations or satellites from 10 of the Persian Gulf nation’s crude oil supertankers for at least a week, according to tanker tracking data compiled by Bloomberg. The most likely explanation is that the vessels’ transponders have been switched off, making it more difficult to track the their movements.