The Grace 1, Iranian tanker, the detention of which worsened the frictions between and the West could sail free from British territory Gibraltar on Friday. The case may be dragged into the court again as US-made request to halt its passage.
On July 4, the Grace 1 seized by British Royal Marine commandos in darkness at the western side of the Mediterranean on suspicion of violating EU sanctions by taking oil to Syria which is a close ally of Iran.
Gibraltar Chief Minister Fabian Picardo announced to withdraw the detention order after having a letter from Tehran assuring that the ship would not discharge its oil in Syria. The fate of the ship has since been complicated by a last-minute legal to hold it.
“She is able to leave as soon as she organizes the logistics necessary in order to sail a ship of that size,” Picardo told reporters.
“Could be today, could be tomorrow,” while being asked about the U.S request, he said.
“Those will be determinations made purely objectively and independently by those authorities and then subject to once again the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court of Gibraltar,” he added. “It could go back to the court absolutely.”
The U.S State Department said in a statement that the US had determined the ship was helping Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, which Washington has designated as a terrorist organization.
Mike Pompeo, the U.S Secretary of State wrote on Twitter warning all mariners if they crewed a ship associated with the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, they would threaten their ability to enter the United States.
“#NotWorthIt,” Pompeo tweeted.
After the Iranian tanker was seized, Iran as a reply seized a British- flagged tanker in the Strait of Hormuz leading into the Gulf that further escalated tension in between the two states.
Jalil Eslami, the deputy head of Iran’s Ports and Maritime Organisation stated, “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 25-member crew will start their journey after preparations, including refueling,” he added.