Grace 1 Iranian oil tanker shifts position but still at anchor off Gibraltar

File photo of oil supertanker Grace 1 is seen near Gibraltar. (File photo: Reuters)

An Iranian tanker caught in the standoff between Tehran and the West shifted position on Friday but its anchor was still down off Gibraltar and it was unclear if it was ready to set sail, a Reuters reporter said.

Gibraltar authorities could not be reached for comment.

The Grace 1 was seized by British Royal Marines at the western mouth of the Mediterranean on July 4 on suspicion of violating European Union sanctions by taking oil to Syria, a close ally of Iran.

ALSO READ: Iran says it gave no assurances over Grace 1 tanker not going to Syria

Gibraltar decided on Thursday to free the tanker, but did not immediately indicate when or if the ship would set sail after the United States launched a last-minute legal bid to hold it.

A Reuters reporter in Gibraltar said the vessel appeared to be moving and more smoke could be seen coming from the funnel than in recent days. However it was not clear that the ship was actually leaving and it still appeared to be at anchor.

Refinitiv data did not show the vessel moving.

Gibraltar's chief minister, Fabian Picardo, said earlier that the tanker was free to leave as soon as it had organized its logistics.

“Could be today, could be tomorrow,” Picardo told BBC Radio.

Washington has attempted to detain the Grace 1 on the grounds that it had links to Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, which it has designated a terrorist organization.

Asked about Washington’s position, Picardo said that would be subject to the jurisdiction of Gibraltar's Supreme Court.

“It could go back to the court absolutely.”

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Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:54 - GMT 06:54
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