The photo taken on July 06, 2019 shows Iranian-owned supertanker Grace 1 off the coast of Gibraltar. (Photo by AFP)
Speculations over the release of a detained Iranian oil tanker have grown ahead of an August 15 hearing, which is set to decide about the Grace 1’s fate.
On Tuesday, Iran’s Ports and Maritime Organization announced that Britain is expected to soon free the tanker that it seized last month off the coast of Gibraltar. Speaking at a press conference, Jalil Eslami, the organization’s deputy head noted that London has shown willingness to resolve the diplomatic dispute that has broken out between the two sides over the case.
Additionally, on Tuesday, a spokesman for Gibraltar said the British overseas territory was seeking “to de-escalate issues arising since” the detention of Grace 1, Reuters reported.
Earlier, maritime security company Dryad Global reported that Grace 1 had signaled a new destination of Morocco, but later removed the update.
TankerTrackers.com also tweeted that the tanker had been signaling Morocco as its next destination after having spent 5 weeks in Gibraltar.
On July 4, British naval forces in the Strait of Gibraltar off Spain seized the supertanker Grace 1 on the accusation that it was carrying Iranian oil to Syria in violation of the European Union’s unilateral sanctions on the Arab country. Iran denied that the vessel was heading for Syria, and Spain later informed that London had ordered the confiscation at the request of the United States, which is trying to trouble Iran’s international oil sales.
Later in the month, Iran seized an oil tanker sailing under the British ensign in the Strait of Hormuz in the Persian Gulf “for failing to respect international maritime rules.” According to Iranian officials, the tanker had failed to respond to pertinent authorities after an accident involving an Iranian fishing boat and changed route instead.