The Iranian VLCC Adrian Darya 1, formerly known as Grace 1, entered Turkish territorial waters this morning and appears to be on course for the port of Mersin.
The ship has been at the centre of a diplomatic storm for the past eight weeks. It was detained on July 4 in Gibraltar, accused of heading towards sanctions-hit Syria with a cargo of Iranian crude. The vessel was eventually released last week and has been sailing east through the Mediterranean while US diplomatic forces have rallied, and demanded no country should allow it to dock, as Washington maintains the ship has links to Iran’s Revolutionary Guard, which the US says is a terrorist organisation.
The fully laden ship must offload part of its cargo in order to transit the Suez Canal.
Meanwhile, the Stena Impero, which has been detained in Iranian waters since July 19, likely in retaliation for the capturing of the Iranian VLCC earlier, could be freed soon.
Iranian foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif promised today to “expedite” the legal affairs with regards to the UK-flagged tanker.
“We will expedite the legal process for the British tanker that is now in our custody after they basically committed sea crimes by taking our ship,” Zarif said while on a trip to Malaysia.