The tanker lifted the anchor on Sunday night and was sailing south, according to the Marine Traffic vessel tracking site. The Gibraltar authorities did not confirm his departure and he still did not know what his destiny was and that of his cargo.
According to this website, the ship should reach the Greek port of Kalamata, in the south of the Peloponnese, but at the moment there is no confirmation. According to an Iranian port manager, Jalil Eslami, cited by the Irna press agency, the ship is already in international waters.
Gibraltar had ordered the arrest of the ship, suspected of transporting oil to Syria, in application of European sanctions against the country at war.
The ship, which carries 2.1 million barrels of crude oil, was authorized to leave once it had been guaranteed that the cargo would not be delivered to Syria.
The ship, formerly called “Grace 1” and which had a Panamanian flag, was renamed to continue its journey as “Adrian Darya”, this time with an Iranian flag.
“No legal basis”
According to a statement published on Sunday, the Gibraltar authorities, located in the southern tip of Spain, rejected the request for legal aid from the United States.
“Under European law, Gibraltar cannot provide the assistance requested by the United States,” they said.
On Monday, when the “Adrian Darya” had already left Gibraltar waters, Iran announced that it had issued a warning to the United States through the Swiss embassy in Tehran (representing US interests) against further blockade attempts.
After accusing Washington of carrying out “an economic war,” Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif called the US’s “parody of justice” Monday.
The minister warned that Iran “cannot be transparent about the fate of our oil because the United States tries to intimidate others so they don’t buy our oil.”
The retention of the tanker by Gibraltar and the British navy caused a major diplomatic crisis between Tehran and London.
US President Donald Trump withdrew his country in 2018 from the international agreement that allowed to frame the Iranian nuclear industry, negotiated by his predecessor Barak Obama with Iran, France, Russia, China, Great Britain and Germany, and restored draconian sanctions against Tehran.
The Europeans, meanwhile, have tried to persuade Iran to continue respecting the agreement, and trying to limit the impact of US sanctions that Washington wants to apply to all companies that trade with Iran regardless of their nationality.
The Islamic Republic considers these efforts insufficient and in recent weeks began to ignore certain terms of the 2015 agreement.
Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Musavi again rejected any link between the blockade of the Iranian oil tanker in Gibraltar and the retention of the British oil tanker “Stena Impero” in the Gulf, captured on July 19.
“There is no link between those two ships,” Musavi said. “There were two or three maritime violations committed by that ship.”
On the boat case, “the court is working on it.” “We hope the investigation will end as soon as possible and the verdict will come out,” he added.
The “Stena Impero” was taken to the Iranian port of Bandar Abbas for “not respecting the international maritime code,” according to Tehran.
The ship, owned by a Swedish shipowner, has a crew of 23 people, mostly Indians and the rest of the Philippines, Latvia and Russia