Iranian oil tanker held by UK to be released Thursday – reports
The tanker with Iranian oil that has been held by British naval forces in Gibraltar for over a month will be released on Thursday, sources close to Gibraltars chief minister Fabian Picardo told a British tabloid.
Picardo wont apply to renew the detention order for the tanker Grace 1 in a court hearing on Thursday, sources told the Sun, as he has been convinced the vessel is not heading toward Syria after receiving a written note from the tankers captain.
The Panamanian-flagged tanker allegedly loaded with Iranian oil was seized by the Royal Marines in early July, after both the UK and Gibraltar accused it of violating EU sanctions against Syria.
Iran denied the charge and accused the British of acting on US orders, slamming the seizure as “maritime piracy.”
The Iranian navy has since seized the British tanker Stena Impero as it was traveling through the Strait of Hormuz, accusing the ship of violating maritime law.
London has signed on to a US-led “freedom of navigation” coalition that Washington claims is defensive even as it packs the Gulf with military assets including a carrier strike group, bomber task force, missile batteries, and thousands of troops. While the initiative is largely in the planning stages, having been panned by Washingtons European allies, Israel has also volunteered unspecified services after reaching an “agreement” with the UAE to counter Iranian “aggression.”