Iran claims United Kingdom ‘interested’ in releasing seized oil tanker soon

Elias Hubbard
August 13, 2019

British Royal Marines seized the Iranian oil tanker Grace 1 near Gibraltar on July 4, claiming it was transporting oil to Syria, in violation of European Union sanctions, which Iran denies.

Gibraltar said on Tuesday it was seeking to de-escalate issues arising with Iran since the detention of the tanker.

Iran said on Tuesday that Britain might free its oil tanker Grace 1 soon, after some documents were exchanged that would help the seized ship's release.

"The vessel was seized based on false allegations", Eslami said in comments reported by state news agency IRNA.

Iran's semi-official Fars news agency, quoting unidentified Gibraltar authorities, said the tanker would be freed by Tuesday evening.

Following Iran's move to capture a British oil tanker that had violated the maritime law in the Strait of Hormuz, the U.S. and the United Kingdom tried to carry out a plan for restrictions on maritime traffic in the strait, but their ploy ended in failure after it was given the cold shoulder by other countries, Eslami added. The territory has denied Iran's claim that the action was taken on the orders of Tehran's longtime foe Washington.

Tanker Trackers, a company that monitors ship movements, said Grace-1 was sending signals on Monday that indicate it will leave Gibraltar toward a destination in Morocco, although the vessel is still in Gibraltar.

On July 19, Iran's Revolutionary Guards impounded the British-flagged Stena Impero oil tanker in the strategic Strait of Hormuz for breaking "international maritime rules".

The tankers' affair has added to worsening hostilities since Washington pulled out of an global agreement curbing Iran's nuclear programme and reimposed economic sanctions. Iran claimed that the vessel, the Stena Impero, had been "violating global maritime rules".

Millions of barrels of oil pass daily through the various bottlenecks from Middle East oil producers to markets across the globe.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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