Gibraltar court extends detention of Iranian tanker for 30 days

The Grace 1 supertanker, carrying 2.1 million barrels of oil, was intercepted by British Royal Marines and Gibraltar’s police on July 4 as it transited through waters claimed by Gibraltar. (AFP)
Updated 19 July 2019

Gibraltar court extends detention of Iranian tanker for 30 days

  • The Grace 1 was intercepted by British Royal Marines and Gibraltar’s police on July 4
  • Supertanker was believed destined for Syria to deliver oil

GIBRALTAR: Gibraltar’s Supreme Court ruled Friday that a seized Iranian tanker suspected of breaching sanctions by shipping oil to Syria can be detained for 30 more days, the British territory’s attorney general said.
The Grace 1 supertanker, carrying 2.1 million barrels of oil, was intercepted by British Royal Marines and Gibraltar’s police on July 4 as it transited through waters claimed by Gibraltar, which is located on Spain’s southern tip.
An initial order by the court authorizing the detention of the vessel would lapse after Friday. The order can be renewed for up to 90 days.
“We look forward to continuing to work constructively and positively with officials of the Islamic Republic of Iran to facilitate the release of the Grace 1 pursuant to the satisfaction of all legal requirements,” Gibraltar’s Chief Minister Fabian Picardo told the territory’s parliament.
Picardo said Thursday he had a “constructive and positive” meeting with Iranian officials in London aimed at defusing tensions around the detention of the tanker in the British territory’s waters.
Gibraltar and US officials believed the tanker was destined for Syria to deliver oil, in violation of separate sets of EU and US sanctions.
Iran has reacted with fury to what it termed “piracy” and warned it would not let the interception go unanswered.
Last week, a British warship in the Gulf warned off armed Iranian boats that tried to stop a UK supertanker. London has since announced the deployment of two more warships to the Gulf region for the coming months.
The Gibraltar court ruling comes as tensions in the Gulf region mounted Friday after Washington said an Iranian drone was destroyed after threatening an American naval vessel at the entrance to the Strait of Hormuz.
It was believed to be the first US military engagement with Iran following a series of increasingly serious incidents.
Iran denied losing any drones.


Iranian oil tanker pursued by US says it is going to Turkey

Updated 12 min 52 sec ago

Iranian oil tanker pursued by US says it is going to Turkey

  • The destination set in the ship’s Automatic Identification System is Mesrin, Turkey, but this might not be true
  • The US has a warrant in federal court to seize the ship and has been warning nations not to accept it

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates: An Iranian-flagged oil tanker pursued by the US amid heightened tensions between Tehran and Washington now lists its destination as a port in Turkey.
The crew of the Adrian Darya 1, formerly known as the Grace 1, changed its listed destination in its Automatic Identification System to Mesrin, Turkey, early Saturday.
However, mariners can input any destination into the AIS, so Turkey may not be its true destination.
The ship-tracking website MarineTraffic.com showed the Adrian Darya’s position as just south of Sicily in the Mediterranean Sea.
The Adrian Darya was held for weeks off Gibraltar after being seized by authorities there on suspicion of violating EU sanctions on Syria.
The US has a warrant in federal court to seize the ship and has been warning nations not to accept it.