US legal bid could still block release of Grace I, Gibraltar says, as Iranian tanker prepares to leave

An Iranian tanker detained in Gibraltar for breaching EU sanctions could be allowed to leave on Friday, though a last minute US legal bid to halt it could yet end up back in court, the territory’s chief minister said.

Gibraltar decided on Thursday to free the tanker, but did not immediately indicate when or if the ship would set sail after the United States launched a last-minute legal bid to hold it.

“She is able to leave as soon as she organises the logistics necessary in order to sail a ship of that size wherever it’s going next,” Fabian Picardo told BBC Radio. “Could be today, could be tomorrow.”

Asked about the US 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. It could go back to the court absolutely.”

The US State Department said Friday that the ship was “assisting the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) by transporting oil from Iran to Syria” and threatened to sanction its crew members by revoking any US visas they held.

Iran’s state television reported on Friday that the Grace I was being reflagged and preparing to set sail.

“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 television quoted Jalil Eslami, deputy head of Iran’s Ports and Maritime Organisation, as saying.

“The 25-member crew will start their journey after preparations, including refuelling,” Mr Eslami said.

The television report did not identify the tanker’s owner.

 

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US legal bid could still block release of Grace I, Gibraltar says, as Iranian tanker prepares to leave Iran Briefing Iran Briefing
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