Iranian oil tanker Grace 1 captured by Gibraltar – REUTERS / STRINGER. – Archive
The ship is heading towards the city of Kalamata, in the southern Greek peninsula of Peloponnese
Iranian oil tanker Grace 1, renamed 'Adrian Darya 1', has departed from Gibraltar this Sunday night and heads towards the city of Kalamata, in the southern part of the Greek Peloponnese peninsula, according to shipping data, several hours after the British territory rejected a request from the United States to stop the ship.
The Gibraltarian authorities retained 'Grace 1' on July 4 on suspicion that he intended to bring oil to Syria, something that would contravene the sanctions imposed by the EU against the Bashar al Assad regime. Two weeks later, the Iranian Revolutionary Guard captured the British tanker 'Stena Impero'.
Thus, this boat left the dock of Gibraltar at 11 pm without specifying where it was going. Iran's ambassador to Britain, Hamid Baeidinejad, had previously reported on the Twitter social network that the ship would depart on Sunday night. “With the arrival of two specialized teams of engineers in Gibraltar … the ship is scheduled to depart tonight,” he said.
The ship could not leave before Gibraltar by a US order that imposed the confiscation of “the vessel, all oil on board and $ 995,000 (about 896,896 euros)” due to repeated violations of the International Law of Emergency Economic Powers ( IEEPA by its acronym in English) “.
However, the Gibraltarian authorities declared themselves unable to comply with the seizure order issued against this oil tanker, claiming that the United States issued this order under the sanctions imposed by Washington against the Iranian authorities, in the context of the dispute between the two countries, and restored after the US nation abandoned the nuclear agreement signed in 2015 with the Islamic Republic.
“The EU sanctions regime against Iran – which is applicable in Gibraltar – is much narrower than that applicable in the United States,” the government said in a statement. Iran, for its part, has denied that the tanker ever went to Syria.
Thus, Tehran warned with deploying its naval fleet to escort the ship if necessary. “The era of flight has ended. We are ready to escort oil tanker Adrian,” Admiral Hossein Khanzadi said, according to the Mehr news agency.
The initial embargo on 'Grace 1' unleashed a diplomatic dispute that escalated when Tehran seized a British-flagged tanker two weeks later. Since then, the two ships have become pawns of a larger game, which has contributed to the intensification of hostilities.
Iran has denounced the United States' attempts to establish an international maritime security coalition in the Gulf and has insisted that countries in the region could protect the strategic waterway and work to sign a non-aggression pact.