Seized Iranian oil tanker leaves Gibraltar

The Iranian tanker seized for suspected sanction breaches has been allowed to depart Gibralter.
The Iranian tanker seized for suspected sanction breaches has been allowed to depart Gibralter.

An oil tanker at the centre of a diplomatic dispute between London and Tehran has set off from Gibraltar after being held there for more than six weeks.

"We hereby confirm that our tanker has left Gibraltar for international waters after 45 days," Iran's ambassador to Britain Hamid Baeidinejad said in an Instagram post early on Monday.

The Gibraltar Broadcasting Corporation published a video said to show the Adrian Darya 1, formerly the Grace 1, setting sail.

British troops helped capture the Grace 1 on July 4 off Gibraltar over suspicions it was carrying Iranian oil to Syria in violation of EU sanctions.

Shortly after the tanker's detention, Iran seized the British-flagged oil tanker Stena Impero, which remains held by the Islamic Republic.

The release of the vessel raises hopes of a de-escalation in tensions and the release of the Stena Imprero.

In a last-ditch effort to stop the release, the US issued a warrant to seize the vessel and its cargo of 2.1 million barrels of light crude oil, citing violations of US sanctions as well as money laundering and terrorism statutes.

US officials told reporters that the oil aboard the ship was worth some 130 million dollars and that it was destined for a designated terror organisation to conduct more terrorism.

However, Gibraltar authorities rejected the eleventh-hour attempt, arguing that EU regulations are less strict than US sanctions.

Australian Associated Press