Iranian reports claim tanker seized by British marines will be released TODAY – six weeks after it was detained off of Gibraltar
- Grace 1 tanker was seized by British marines off the coast of Gibraltar on July 4
- Gibraltar was set to decide fate of ship on Thursday, when detention order lapses
- But Iranian reports now say it will be freed tonight – a claim denied by a Gibraltar government source
Iranian reports have claimed a tanker seized by British marines will be released this evening – six weeks after it was detained off of Gibraltar.
The British overseas territory seized Iran’s Grace 1 supertanker on July 4 with the help of British forces on suspicion it was shipping oil to Syria in violation of EU sanctions.
A court in Gibraltar was set to decide the fate of the ship on Thursday, when an order for its detention lapses.
But Iran’s semi-official Fars news agency quoted unidentified Gibraltar authorities as saying that it will be freed tonight.
Britain’s foreign office has yet to respond while a government source in Gibraltar has denied the claim.
Iranian reports have claimed a tanker seized by British marines will be released this evening – six weeks after it was detained off of Gibraltar. The Grace 1 tanker is pictured last month
Royal Marines from 42 Commando are pictured ‘fast-roping’ from a Wildcat helicopter (left) on to the supertanker Grace 1 as they intercepted it near Gibraltar in early July
Gibraltar said on Tuesday it was seeking to de-escalate issues arising with Iran since the detention.
The deputy head of Iran’s port authority, Jalil Eslami, also said in a report by state news agency IRNA that Britain had shown an interest in overcoming the problem and documents had been exchanged.
‘Efforts from Iran and the port organisation have been made for the release of this ship,’ he was quoted as saying.
Grace 1, a Panama-flagged vessel (pictured), was stopped by Gibraltar police and customs officials alongside British Royal Marines in the early hours
‘I hope this problem will be resolved in the near future and that the ship can continue its movement with the flag of the Islamic Republic of Iran.’
Gibraltar and US officials believed the tanker was destined for Syria to deliver oil, in violation of separate sets of EU and US sanctions.
Iran called the seizure of the ship ‘piracy’ and warned it would not let the interception go unanswered.
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’.
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