Iranian tanker leaves Gibraltar despite US demands to seize it
Published time: 18 Aug, 2019 22:08
Edited time: 19 Aug, 2019 05:21
Iranian oil tanker Adrian Darya 1, before being named as Grace 1, sits anchored in the Strait of Gibraltar, Spain, August 18, 2019. © REUTERS/Jon Nazca
The Iranian oil tanker 'Grace 1,' newly released by Gibraltar and renamed 'Adrian Darya 1,' has reportedly set sail, maritime tracking data shows. It comes after a last-minute US request demanding its seizure was rejected.
The tanker left the Gibraltar port at around midnight local time, shipping data showed.
Excited ship spotters took to Twitter to report that marine traffic monitoring sites showed the vessel moving towards open seas. However, its speed soon came to a near-halt, prompting discussions as to whether it was a technical problem or a false start.
About half an hour later, however, the tanker picked up speed, reaching Spanish waters and heading into international waters.
The tanker with some 2.1 million barrels of oil on board was seized by the UK off Gibraltar in early July. Washington accused the then-Panama-flagged ship of transporting the crude to Syria in violation of US sanctions.
Last week, despite the US authorities’ vocal objections, Gibraltar decided to release the vessel, claiming that it had received assurances that it was not bound for Syria. Tehran, however, subsequently denied that it had provided any such guarantees.
On Friday, in a last-ditch attempt to keep the tanker in custody, Washington issued a warrant seeking the tanker’s arrest, along with all of its oil and what is said to be nearly $1 million in an unnamed US bank, while accusing it of supporting the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) by illegally using the US banking system to finance the shipment.
The British overseas territory pushed back against the demand on Sunday, telling Washington that it was not going implement US sanctions on Iran, which are much broader than those imposed by the EU.