Iranian oil tanker Grace 1 sits anchored awaiting a courtroom ruling on whether or not it may be freed after it was seized in July by British Royal Marines off the coast of the British Mediterranean territory, within the Strait of Gibraltar, southern Spain, August 15, 2019. REUTERS/Jon NazcaReuters
DUBAI (Reuters) – An Iranian oil tanker is being reflagged and is getting ready to sail to the Mediterranean, Iran’s state tv reported on Friday, after Gibraltar determined to free the seized ship.
“Based on the owner’s request, the oil tanker Grace 1 will depart for the Mediterranean after being reflagged under the Iranian flag and renamed Adrian Darya after preparing for the journey,” the tv quoted Jalil Eslami, deputy head of Iran’s Ports and Maritime Organisation, as saying.
Britain’s Mediterranean territory Gibraltar selected Thursday to free the Panama-flagged tanker, however didn’t instantly point out when or if the ship would set sail after the USA launched a brand new, last-minute authorized bid to carry it.
“The 25-member crew will start their journey after preparations, including refueling,” Eslami mentioned.
The tv report didn’t determine the tanker’s proprietor.
The Grace 1 was seized by British Royal Marine commandos off the coast of the territory on the western mouth of the Mediterranean on July four on suspicion of violating European Union sanctions by taking oil to Syria, a detailed ally of Iran.
Two weeks later, Iran seized a British-flagged tanker within the Strait of Hormuz main into the Gulf.
The 2 tankers have grow to be pawns within the standoff between Iran and the West, their destiny snarled within the diplomatic variations between the EU’s large powers and the USA.
Gibraltar officers didn’t clarify whether or not the U.S. authorized bid would imply the ship must be detained additional or, in that case, for a way lengthy.
Iran mentioned the ship would sail shortly and Overseas Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif characterised the U.S. bid to stop it from leaving as “piracy”.
(Reporting by Dubai newsroom; Enhancing by Kim Coghill)
Copyright 2019 Thomson Reuters.