Iran says in touch with Britain over seized tanker

Iran says in touch with Britain over seized tanker

A court in the British overseas territory of Gibraltar is to decide on Thursday on the fate of
A court in the British overseas territory of Gibraltar is to decide on Thursday on the fate of supertanker Grace 1, seized with the help of British Royal Marines on July 4 in an operation that ratcheted up tensions with Iran (Photo: AFP/JORGE GUERRERO)

TEHRAN: Iran's port authority said Tuesday (Aug 13) it has been in contact with British authorities as part of efforts to secure the release of a tanker seized off Gibraltar.

Gibraltar - a British overseas territory - seized the Grace 1 supertanker on July 4 with the help of British Royal Marines on suspicion it was shipping oil to Syria in violation of EU sanctions.

A court in Gibraltar is to decide the fate of the ship on Thursday, when an order for its detention lapses. 

READ: Iran seizes third foreign ship in less than a month

The deputy head of Iran's port authority, Jalil Eslami, 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.

"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 Jul 19, Iran's Revolutionary Guards impounded the British-flagged Stena Impero oil tanker in the strategic Strait of Hormuz for breaking "international maritime rules".

Source: AFP/nr

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