A frequent visitor to Syria: what is known about the "civilian" Sig tanker shot down by Ukraine and its routes
The Russian tanker Sig, which was shot down in the Black Sea on the night of 5 August, was making regular voyages from the terrorist country of Russia and the temporarily occupied Crimea to Syria. The vessel made the vast majority of its voyages with its AIS (Automatic Identification System) transmitter switched off.
The tanker was transporting oil products to the Syrian port of Tartus to supply a group of Russian troops. This was reported on Facebook by Andriy Klymenko, project manager at the Institute for Black Sea Strategic Studies (scroll to the bottom of the page to see the photo).
According to him, the Sig tanker was first recorded by the BlackSeaNews Monitoring Group as a violator of Crimean sanctions in May 2017. At that time, it delivered 6,500 tonnes of diesel fuel from Novorossiysk to the Feodosia oil depot. In total, at least 21 such flights were recorded before the Kerch bridge was put into operation. Klymenko noted that the tanker made most of its voyages to Feodosia with the AIS transmitter switched off.
In addition, Sig regularly transported fuel from the Feodosia oil depot to the Syrian port of Tartus. In this way, the aggressor country was supplying the Russian military grouping in Syria. The tanker returned from its last voyage from Syria on 1 August without cargo to a raid anchorage south of the Kerch Strait in Ukraine's territorial sea.
Klymenko noted that the Sig tanker switched off its AIS in the Mediterranean Sea on the approach to Cyprus and entered the Syrian port with the identification system switched off. In the port of Tartus, the tanker was recorded at the Russian Navy naval base.
"This vessel (its shipowner) most likely has a long-term contract with the Russian Ministry of Defence to supply oil products to the Syrian group of Russian troops. The Yaz tanker (YAZ, IMO 9735323), which belongs to the same shipowner, is constantly carrying out the same transportations," Klymenko said.
As a reminder, a marine drone crashed into a SIG tanker 30 miles from the Kerch Strait on the night of 5 August. Later, Russian media published a photo of the damaged SIG tanker. It had a hole in the engine room area. The crew remains on the ship, as there is allegedly no threat of sinking.
Earlier it was reported that the attack on the large Russian oil tanker SIG, which was transporting fuel for Russian troops, was the work of the Security Service and the Ukrainian Navy. The special operation followed a classic scenario: a surface drone, 450 kg of TNT, and an explosion.