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Iran says in touch with Britain over seized tanker


This February 5, 2015 handout photo released by the Ministry of Defence in London on August 12, 2019, shows Britain’s HMS Kent as the Type 23 frigate warship carries out duties off the coast of Djibouti. – Britain’s HMS Kent left Portsmouth Naval Base on August 12, 2019, to take over duties in the Strait of Hormuz from Type 45 defender HMS Duncan. Britain said earlier this month it would join the United States in an “international maritime security mission” to protect merchant vessels in the Strait of Hormuz amid heightened tension with Iran. The move follows a spate of incidents — including the seizure of ships — involving Iran and Western powers, in particular, Britain and the US, centred on the vital Gulf thoroughfare. (Photo by HO / MOD / AFP) / 

Iran’s port authority said Tuesday it has been in contact with British authorities as part of efforts to secure the release of a tanker seized off Gibraltar.

Gibraltar — a British overseas territory — seized the Grace 1 supertanker on July 4 with the help of British Royal Marines on suspicion it was shipping oil to Syria in violation of EU sanctions.

A court in Gibraltar is to decide the fate of the ship on Thursday when an order for its detention lapses.


The deputy head of Iran’s port authority, Jalil Eslami, said in a report by state news agency IRNA that Britain had shown an interest in overcoming the problem and documents had been exchanged.

“Efforts from Iran and the port organisation have been made for the release of this ship,” he was quoted as saying.

“I hope this problem will be resolved in the near future and that the ship can continue its movement with the flag of the Islamic Republic of Iran.”

Gibraltar and US officials believed the tanker was destined for Syria to deliver oil, in violation of separate sets of EU and US sanctions.

Iran called the seizure of the ship “piracy” and warned it would not let the interception go unanswered.

On July 19, Iran’s Revolutionary Guards impounded the British-flagged Stena Impero oil tanker in the strategic Strait of Hormuz for breaking “international maritime rules”.


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