An Iranian oil tanker held in Gibraltar will be released on Thursday, British press reports said.
A source close to Gibraltar’s prime minister, Fabian Picardo, was quoted by The Sun as saying he wouldn’t apply for a renewal of the detention order.
The 15,000-tonne vessel, which passes through the Strait of Gibraltar, was seized by a British Royal Marines team on July 4, allegedly in violation of European sanctions to transport oil to Syria.
In response, Iran’s Revolutionary Guards seized the British-flagged tanker Stena Impero on July 19 near the Strait of Hormuz.
Sources confirmed to the Sun newspaper that Picardo became certain that the tanker “Grace 1” is no longer bound for Syria.
“There is no reason why we should keep Grace 1 in Gibraltar as long as we no longer believe it is in breach of sanctions against the Syrian regime”, the source was quoted as saying.
The newspaper believes that the captain of the ship has given the Prime Minister of Gibraltar a written pledge not to transfer oil to Syria, so Picardo won’t ask the judge to extend the period of detention during a court hearing on Thursday.
Britain said the investigation into the case of the Iranian tanker Grace 1, held in Gibraltar, was a matter for Gibraltar.
“The investigation into Grace 1 is a matter for the Gibraltar government, and since this investigation is still going on, we cannot comment any further”, a Foreign Office spokesman was quoted as saying by the BBC on Tuesday.
This comes hours after Jalil Islami, assistant naval affairs at the Iranian ports and navigation organization, expected that the Iranian oil tanker held in Gibraltar since early July for the alleged violation of the sanctions imposed on Syria will be released soon.
Islami said at a press conference today that the detention of the tanker from the beginning, in the area of Gibraltar of the British crown, was “a malicious allegations and false British objectives”.
He added: “Britain wants to address this issue, and practically exchanged official and unofficial documents in this regard.
It is hoped that the tanker flying the Iranian flag will continue its activities again in the near term.
Iran responded to the seizure of its tanker by seizing a British-flagged tanker in the Strait of Hormuz.
On the British tanker, Islami said that their status “is determined by the judicial and political authorities”.