Gibraltar’s supreme court has granted a 30-day extension to allow authorities to detain the Iranian oil tanker Grace 1 until Aug. 15, the Gibraltar Chronicle newspaper said. The paper said Gibraltar’s Attorney General, Michael Llamas, had confirmed the decision. No official comment from the Gibraltar government was immediately available.
The Iranian Oil Tanker, Grace 1 was seized earlier this month by British Royal Marines off the coast of the British Mediterranean territory on suspicion of violating sanctions against Syria.
The issue has stoked tension in the Gulf and Britain last week said it had fended off Iranian ships that tried to block a British tanker in the region. However, both sides have said they do not want the situation to escalate.
British foreign minister Jeremy Hunt said Britain would facilitate the release of the Grace 1 if Iran gave guarantees that the tanker would not go to Syria, once the issue had followed due process in Gibraltar’s courts.
On Thursday, Gibraltar’s Chief Minister Fabian Picardo held a “constructive and positive” meeting with Iranian officials in London to discuss the tanker.