Published On: Fri, Aug 16th, 2019

Iran news: Defiant Tehran says it WILL use Grace 1 tanker to take oil to Syria | World | News

Meanwhile, the ship’s captain is no longer wants to be in command, his lawyer said today. The was seized after it was boarded by Royal Marines on July 4, much to the fury of , over claims it was transporting oil to the Middle Eastern country in contravention of making it illegal to do so.

Gibraltar lifted the detention order on Thursday but the vessel’s fate was further complicated by the United States, which made a last-ditch legal appeal to hold it.

This evening the vessel appeared to be moving and smoke could be seen coming from the funnel.

However, it was not clear that the ship was actually leaving and it still appeared to be at anchor.

data did not show the vessel underway.

In the meantime, Iran struck a defiant note, with Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Seyed Abbas Mousavi telling the semi-official Tasnim news agency: “For the release of the oil tanker, Iran has made no commitment that the ship would not go to Syria because from the early hours of the tanker’s detention, we announced that Syria was not its destination and we have upheld the same and reiterated that it was nobody’s business even if it was Syria.”

Mr Abbas insisted the Gibraltarian authorities of seeking to distract from “their humiliation caused by this illegal act and piracy”.

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After the seizure, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani warned London would “definitely pay the price”.

The UK-flagged was subsequently been detained by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard and is currently being held at the Iranian port of Bandar Abbas.

A spokesman for Her Majesty’s Government of Gibraltar referred to an agreement signed by Iranian representatives pledging not to transport oil to Syria.

He added: “The written position set out in the Notes Verbale speak for themselves and confirm that the Islamic Republic of Iran has provided the commitment referred to.

“The evidence located aboard the Grace 1 and explicitly referred to in the Legal Notice issued yesterday demonstrates that the vessel was going to .

“The evidence is clear and the facts speak louder than the self-serving political statements we are hearing today.”

Richard Wilkinson, a lawyer for the three crew members released from detention on Thursday, said the Indian national who commanded the Grace 1 has asked his employers to replace him, hinting at the reason for the delay in the ship leaving port.

Mr Wilkinson added: “He doesn’t want to stay in command of the ship, he wants to go home, because he wasn’t happy to go back and pick up the broken pieces.

“But he’s a professional skipper and needs to wait for a new crew to do a proper handover.”

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