Grace 1 ordered to be released by Gibraltar Supreme Court

Seized Iranian tanker Grace 1 (IMO 9116412), which had been held in Gibraltar since July 4th, is to be released, the local supreme court has ruled, despite a last-minute plea by the US authorities for a continuation of the detention.

Gibraltar said that it had received formal written assurances from Iran that the ship would not discharge its cargo in Syria.

Gibraltar’s chief justice, Anthony Dudley, said that no US application was currently before the court.

The US Department of Justice attempted to halt the release of the tanker, providing the Gibraltarian authorities with a number of allegations that the court considered. None of them was sufficient to halt the release of the tanker.

The vessel was due to be released after Gibraltar’s attorney general indicated there would be no further order for its detention. But the US request delayed the release by a few hours.

A spokesman for Gibraltar’s government also confirmed that police proceedings against four members of the crew, including the captain – an Indian national – had ended.

The crew’s legal team told the BBC that police had said this was due to actions by the Iranian government, and that it was no longer in the public interest to proceed.

The crew of 28 mostly-Indian nationals had spent 43 days in detention on board the ship.

About 30 marines were flown from the UK to Gibraltar to help police detain the tanker and its cargo, at the request of the Gibraltar government – a move which Spain and Iran claimed was at the behest of the US authorities, which the UK and Gibraltar denied.

1997-built, Panama-flagged, 156,880 gt Grace 1 is owned by Grace Tankers Ltd care of manager Iships Management Pte Ltd of Singapore.