The tanker, flying the British flag, was seized while Gibraltar held an Iranian ship.
The Stena-Impero the British-flagged tanker that Tehran had boarded in the Strait of Hormuz on July 19, is now "Free of his movements". This was said Monday, September 23, Ali Rabiei, the spokesman of the Iranian government, while tensions with Iran are at the heart of the work of the UN General Assembly. Mr. Rabiei did not say when the ship would go back to sea.
The Iranian authorities accused the ship of ignoring distress calls and turned off her transponder after colliding with a fishing boat. He had been arrested by the Revolutionary Guards, the ideological army of the Islamic Republic, and taken to the port of Bandar Abbas (south). Twenty-three people were on board, seven of whom were released on 4 September.
The Stena-Impero seized a few hours after the decision of the Supreme Court of Gibraltar to extend the detention of an Iranian tanker boarded on July 4 by the authorities of the British territory and suspected of delivering crude to Syria in violation of European sanctions against Damascus. Iran had denied that this was a reprisal.
After being allowed to leave on August 15, this tanker – the Grace 1, renamed since Adrian-Darya 1 – had left Gibraltar three days later, under the Iranian flag, despite a last minute request from the United States to prolong the detention of the ship, which was finally placed on the blacklist of Washington.