Iranian-operated tanker leaves Gibraltar after 45 days: envoy

TEHRAN, Aug. 19 (MNA) – The Iranian supertanker Adrian Darya 1 (formerly known as Grace 1) has set sail from Gibraltar, 45 days after being illegally seized by British naval forces in the international waters.

Iran's Ambassador to London Hamid Baeidinejad, in a tweet late Sunday, confirmed that the supertanker has started its journey in the international waters.

The vessel's coordinates at Marine Traffic website show that the huge tanker has left the Gibraltar territorial waters and is sailing toward an unclear destination in the Mediterranean.

Britain’s naval forces unlawfully seized the Grace 1 and its cargo of 2.1 million barrels of oil in the Strait of Gibraltar on July 4 under the pretext that the supertanker had been suspected of carrying crude to Syria in violation of the European Union’s unilateral sanctions against the Arab country.

Tehran rejected London’s claim that the tanker was heading to Syria, slamming the seizure as “maritime piracy.”

Gibraltar’s government announced on Thursday that it was releasing Grace 1 supertanker despite pressure from the US for the vessel’s continued detainment. The announcement came just before the US Department of Justice unveiled a warrant for the seizure of the Iran-operated ship.

MNA/4696189

News Code 149036

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