Iran Warns US Against Seizure of Oil Tanker Heading to Greece



Photo of the Iranian oil tanker originally called the “Grace 1.” Source: amna.gr

Iran has warned the United States against the seizure of an Iranian oil tanker which has been released from Gibraltar and is now heading to the port of Kalamata in Greece, an Associated Press report says.

The ship, formerly known as the “Grace 1” but renamed the “Adrian Darya 1” by Iran, is carrying 2.1 million barrels of oil, with an estimated worth of approximately $150 million.

The Iranian ship was detained recently while sailing under a Panamanian flag. Video footage and photographs taken on Sunday showed it flying the Iranian flag and with the new name painted in white, over its previous one, on its hull.

The ship was held in Gibraltar waters for 46 days after it was seized by Great Britain’s Royal Marines on July 4, in suspicion that it was carrying oil bound for Syria, which would be a breach of EU sanctions.

Iran has denied that its tanker was heading for Syria, and the vessel’s detention appeared to end last week after Iran gave a written commitment to Gibraltar that it would not sail to Syria or anywhere else covered by EU sanctions.

The authorities on Gibraltar refused to detain the ship any further and it now appears to be headed for Greece. Iranian officials say a new crew has also arrived to pilot the vessel.

Tehran has now warned Washington against attempting to seize the oil tanker on the open seas.

“Such an action … would endanger shipping safety in open seas. We have issued a warning through official channels, especially the Swiss embassy,” the Iranian Foreign Ministry stated.

The neutral nation of Switzerland represents US interests in Iran, since Tehran has no official diplomatic relations with Washington.

MarineTraffic reported that the newly-named Adrian Darya 1 is now heading for the Greek city of Kalamata.