Iranian oil tanker departs Gibraltar after US request rebuffed
The Iranian oil tanker at the centre of a diplomatic dispute has departed from Gibraltar after the British overseas territory rejected a last-minute request from the United States to extend detention of the vessel.
According to monitoring website Marine Traffic, the supertanker lifted anchor on Sunday evening before 23:00 GMT. The tracking site showed the vessel moving east into the Mediterranean and listed Kalamata in Greece as the destination.
The tanker had been detained off the coast of Gibraltar by authorities in the territory since July 4, when British Royal Marines seized the vessel on suspicion it was carrying oil to Syria, a close ally of Iran, in violation of European Union sanctions. Iran has denied the tanker was ever headed to Syria.
The ship, now renamed Adrian Darya 1, was previously known as Grace 1. It has a cargo of at least $130m worth of light crude oil.
Its seizure led to heightened tensions on international oil shipping routes through the Gulf, including Iran’s seizure of a British-flagged tanker – the Stena Impero – on July 19 in the Strait of Hormuz for alleged marine violations
On Monday, a senior Iranian lawmaker was quoted as saying that the crisis in Iran’s ties with Britain would not be over until the tanker reached its destination.
“Until the Iranian oil tanker arrives at its destination the British must help end the crisis,” Heshmatollah Falahatpisheh, a member of parliament’s national security and foreign affairs committee, was quoted as saying by the semi-official ISNA news agency.
“This means that the crisis with Britain is not over. Britain has the primary responsibility for ending the oil tanker crisis,” Falahatpisheh said.