Iran announces a change of flag and name for 'Grace 1', still pending a possible US appeal
DUBAI / LONDON, Aug 16 (Reuters / EP) –
The Iranian freighter imprisoned since the beginning of July in Gibraltar has the hours counted in the Rock, according to the main minister, Fabian Picardo, who has pointed to an imminent departure from the 'Grace 1'. “It could be today, it could be tomorrow,” he said.
Gibraltar intercepted the ship on July 4 after suspecting that it was going to Syria with oil, which would be a violation of the embargo imposed by the UN. However, Picardo on Thursday gave the green light to its exit after receiving guarantees from Tehran on the destination of the 2.1 million barrels of crude oil it carries.
“You can go as soon as the logistics needed to move a frame of this size are organized,” Picardo explained on BBC radio, where he has slipped the possibility that the 'Grace 1' leave Gibraltar this Friday.
However, the blockade request launched at the last minute by the US Department of Justice could lead to a new battle. The matter “could return to court, no doubt,” said Picardo, who has pointed to an “objective” and “independent” study of any claim.
A leader of the Port and Maritime Organization of Iran, Jalil Eslami, has assured that the freighter 'Grace 1' will embark on its route through the Mediterranean after a change of flag, to be completely under Iranian sovereignty. In addition, it will be renamed 'Adrian Darya', according to state television.
“The 25 crew members will start their journey after getting ready, which also includes refueling,” Eslami explained.