Posted on August 16, 2019 by Ilias Kiritsis
Gibraltar has freed the Iranian Crude Oil Tanker, Grace 1, which had been detained for over a month on suspicion of smuggling Iranian Oil to Syria.
The vessel, which has been involved in the alleged violation of EU sanctions against Iran was the subject of no small controversy.
It was originally seized on the 4th of July, carrying over 2.1 million barrels of crude oil to Syria. Royal Commandos raided the vessel, seized its crew and detained the vessel, pending government investigation.
As the deadline for the release of the vessel came closer, the US tried to block it, but met with limited success.
According to the Gibraltar Attorney General, the US Department of Justice had applied to extent its seizure but was ultimately turned down.
"The US in a last-minute attempt made a futile effort to block the release of the oil tanker and were faced with humiliating defeat. With recent attempts, all necessary preparations and technical issues to release the tanker to an open sea have been arranged and the ship will soon leave Gibraltar," said the Iranian ambassador to the UK, Hamid Baeidinejad on a post on twitter.
According to the Gibraltar Chief Minister, Fabian Picardo, Iran has confirmed in writing that following the release of the Grace1 they would not be delivering the oil to Syria.
It is unclear at this time at what point the tanker will actually depart Gibraltar.
Image Courtesy of Marine Traffic