A follow-up on my post below, about a Russian-operated ship, the Chariot, which delivered a cargo of Russian arms to Syria in January, then dropped out of the news, took on fresh cargo in Ukraine and spent four weeks meandering her way to…Iran. As I mentioned, when I phoned her Russian operators in St. Petersburg to ask for details, I was told that the Chariot’s cargo for Iran consisted of “Ukrainian generators” plus “general cargo.”
The Chariot called at the Iranian port of Assaluyeh, around Feb. 29, spending 33 hours there, according to the shipping information service IHS Fairplay. Then the Chariot anchored for more than a week off the United Arab Emirates, with no destination listed.
Now she’s called at Dubai’s Jebel Ali Anchorage — some details and a photo of the Chariot here. Jebel Ali is a major container port and free trade zone — here’a youtube glimpse of the facility. On various ship-tracking databases I’ve checked, there’s still no onward destination reported for the Chariot.
What’s going on? Given the way international sanctions are structured, there’s no evidence that the Chariot has violated any sanctions. Perhaps the Dubai authorities are taking a look to make sure she conforms to various safety standards — something which has been a problem for the Chariot in the past. Perhaps she’s just sorting out her next cargo and voyage. Maybe her crew is simply enjoying the warm weather of the Gulf. I don’t know. But somehow the Chariot seems a ship prone to interesting adventures. As I mentioned in my previous post and linked article, she’s a ship designed to carry dangerous goods, a feature that came in handy when she transported a consignment of munitions, including grenades, rockets, mortar bombs and more than 4 million rounds of ammunition from the government of Egypt to the government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo last summer. After all the publicity the Chariot received for delivering arms to Syria in January, it seemed implausible that she would invite yet more publicity by sailing to Iran. But then she did. It’s a bit of a speciality niche, perhaps, to follow the journeys of the Chariot. But she’s a ship worth watching. Maybe there’s a movie script in it. What next?