The supertanker Grace-1 has been renamed to “Adrian Darya” and reflagged under the Iranian flag upon the ship owner’s request, a senior Iranian official said, as the vessel prepares to leave Gibraltar on Friday.
“Based on the owner’s request, the oil tanker Grace 1 will depart for the Mediterranean after being reflagged under the Iranian flag and renamed Adrian Darya after preparing for the journey,” Iran’s state TV quoted Jalil Eslami, deputy head of Iran’s Ports and Maritime Organisation, as saying.
“The 25-member crew will start their journey after preparations, including refueling,” Eslami said.
The Grace-1 was seized by British Royal Marine commandos off the coast of the territory at the western mouth of the Mediterranean on July 4 on suspicion of violating European Union sanctions by taking oil to Syria, a claim Iran has denied.
Britain’s Mediterranean territory Gibraltar decided on Thursday to free the Panama-flagged tanker, and announced that the vessel can set sail on Friday.
The release came after the United States launched a new, last-minute legal bid to hold it, but to no avail.
Iran said the ship would sail shortly and Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif characterized the US bid to prevent it from leaving as “piracy”.