News of an Iranian supertanker having been released by Gilbraltar, which was suspected of providing crude oil to the Syrian regime of Bashar Assad, has sparked much uproar in the EU sanctions. Grace 1 was held in Gibraltar since July 4th, as confirmed by reporters, despite the Islamic Republic’s demand to have it released. For the release of the supertanker, the Islamic Republic may have given the U.K.-flagged Stena Impero, an oil tanker which had been captured two weeks later as collateral.
After an attempt by the US to prolong its detention and seize the vessel Grace 1, Gibraltar lifted the hold on it last Thursday afternoon. As a result of the US attempt to seize the supertanker, Iranian officials claimed that the US was trying to “steal our property on the high seas,” calling it a “piracy attempt.”
However, as the Grace 1 was released, it was similarly expected of the Stena Impero tanker to be released as well, although it has only been confirmed that the captain and its crew have been released.
Their locations however are not yet known and the Stena Impero remains docked off the coast of Iran. Britain also insisted that there can be “no comparison or linkage” between the detention of the Grace 1 and the illegal seizure of the Stena Impero, which is a commercial shipping vessel.