LONDON, August 19. /TASS/. The Iranian Grace 1 supertanker, detained on July 4 at the US request on suspicion of violating the sanctions imposed on Syria, has left Gibraltar, The Wall Street Journal reported on Sunday.
According to the newspaper, the vessel set sails flying the Iranian flag around 23:00 local time.
On Thursday, Iran’s Ports and Maritime Organization reported that the tanker had changed its name from Grace 1 to Adrian Darya and was heading to one of the Mediterranean ports. Iran’s Ambassador to the United Kingdom Hamid Baeidinejad earlier said via Twitter that active work had been carried out to complete all the necessary port procedures and hire a new crew since Gibraltar’s authorities announced their decision to release the tanker on Thursday.
The authorities of Gibraltar (British Overseas Territory) twice announced that they could no longer hold up the ship at the US request due to differences of sanctions imposed on Iran by the European Union and the US.
Iran repeatedly rebuked the detention of the tanker carrying crude oil, branding the actions of the authorities of the United Kingdom and Gibraltar as an act of piracy. In turn, the British Foreign Office slammed the arrest of the British-flagged Stena Impero tanker in the Strait of Hormuz on July 19 as an act of state piracy and violation of the international law.
Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC, elite forces) announced that the vessel had been detained due to "violation of international rules". So far, neither the Iranian nor the British authorities officially stated that Grace 1’s release could lead to the same decision made regarding Stena Impero with three Russian sailors on board.