The Grace 1, an Iranian VLCC seize by British armed forces off Gibraltar on July 4, has left the UK sovereign territory early this morning and is now making its way east across the Mediterranean.
The ship was at the centre of a diplomatic storm – accused of carrying oil for sanctions-hit Syria, the Iranians responded in kind by seizing a UK-flagged product tanker, Stena Impero, on July 19. This Stena Bulk ship will now hopefully be released.
The Grace 1 has been renamed Adrian Darya 1 and reflagged to the Iranian registry. MarineTraffic lists the ship’s destination as Kalamata in Greece, a port not associated with VLCC traffic normally. It was allowed to depart after local authorities over the weekend dismissed a late US attempt to impound it.
TankerTrackers.com noted in its current fully laden condition, the Adrian Darya 1 would not be able to traverse the Suez Canal, however it would if it were to transfer about a million barrels to an empty suezmax vessel.