Iran holds on to seized British tanker

Seized British ship will not to be released, as Gibraltar-held Iran-flagged tanker sails away
2 min read
19 August, 2019
Gibraltar released an Iranian tanker it held accused of shipping oil to Syria,
The British-flagged tanker is still being held in Iran [Getty]
Tehran will not release a British-flagged tanker seized last month in the Gulf, despite the Gibraltar authors releasing an Iranian vessel which was accused of breaking sanctions on Syria.

The Iranian ship Adrian Darya 1, previously named Grace 1, has been held in Gibraltar since early July, but was allowed to set sail for Greece after Iran gave assurances that $130 million worth of oil it is carrying won't be delivered to Syria.

"There is no specific relation between these two ships," Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi said of the British-flagged Stena Impero and the Adrian Darya 1.

"We are glad that our stance about the unlawful and illegal seizure of our tanker has been proven."

He added that Iran's courts will look at whether to release the Stena Impero, which was seized on 22 July. 

"Regarding the release of the law-breaking British tanker (Stena Impero), we have to wait for the court's ruling," he added. "This tanker has committed two to three nautical violations that are being investigated. We hope that these investigations will finish as soon as possible and a verdict will be issued and if the verdict orders its release, it can continue to sail its path."

Although Iran denies that the seizure of the Stena Impero was linked to the Iranian vessel being held, although many analysts do.

The Iranian spokesman warned Monday against any order by the US Justice Department to have the renamed ship seized again.

"If such an action is taken or even if it is stated verbally and not done, it is considered a threat against the maritime security in international waters," said Mousavi.

"The Islamic Republic of Iran has given necessary warnings to the US officials through official channels, especially the Swiss Embassy in Tehran, not to commit such a mistake which (could) bring them severe consequences."