Iran tanker shifts position but still at anchor off Gibraltar

Iran tanker shifts position but still at anchor off Gibraltar

Gibralatar - Grace 1 was seized by British Royal Marines at the western mouth of the Mediterranean on July 4.



By Reuters

Published: Fri 16 Aug 2019, 10:11 PM

Last updated: Sat 17 Aug 2019, 12:14 AM

An Iranian tanker caught in the standoff between Tehran and the West shifted position on Friday but its anchor was still down off Gibraltar and it was unclear if it was ready to set sail, a Reuters reporter said.
Gibraltar authorities could not be reached for comment.
The Grace 1 was seized by British Royal Marines at the western mouth of the Mediterranean on July 4 on suspicion of violating European Union sanctions by taking oil to Syria, a close ally of Iran.
Gibraltar lifted the detention order on Thursday but the vessel's fate was further complicated by the United States, which made a last-ditch legal appeal to hold it.
A Reuters reporter in Gibraltar said the vessel appeared to be moving and more smoke could be seen coming from the funnel than in recent days. However, it was not clear that the ship was actually leaving and it still appeared to be at anchor.
Refinitiv data did not show the vessel moving. Gibraltar's chief minister, Fabian Picardo, said earlier that the tanker was free to leave as soon as it had organised its logistics. "Could be today, could be tomorrow," Picardo told BBC Radio.
Washington has attempted to detain the Grace 1 on the grounds that it had links to Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, which it has designated a terrorist organization.
Asked about Washington's position, Picardo said that would be subject to the jurisdiction of Gibraltar's Supreme Court.
"It could go back to the court absolutely." The last-minute US intervention was the latest twist in a saga that started in the early hours of July 4, when British Royal Marines abseiled onto the Grace 1 to impound the ship.
That kicked off a sequence of events that saw Tehran seize a British-flagged oil tanker in the Gulf two weeks later.


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