Gibraltar’s Supreme Court, disavowing America’s objection, ordered the release of Iranian super tanker Grace One late Thursday evening. The Supreme Court gave this order after Iran’s filing of affidavit stating that the oil in the tanker was not being sent to Syria. All 28 Indians including the captain posted in the tanker have also been released. India’s Minister of State for External Affairs V Muralitharan has confirmed the release of all Indians. The tanker was captured by commandos of the British Navy on July 4, close to its colony Gibraltar. The tanker was on its way to Syria carrying crude oil. It was considered a violation of international law due to restrictions on trade from Syria. In the day’s hearing on Thursday, the Supreme Court ordered his release. But a few hours later, the US said, it is a matter of breaking international sanctions so Gibraltar should not leave the Iranian tanker. The US and the European Union have banned the supply of oil to Syria, while the US has banned the purchase and sale of Iranian oil.
After this, the Supreme Court of Gibraltar heard the case once again in the evening. During this time there was no written plea from the US not to release the tanker, so the court upheld its earlier decision to release the tanker. After the court order, the Gibraltar police freed Grace One and all those present on it. This tanker is loaded with 21 lakh barrels of crude oil. In response to the capture of Grace One, on July 19, Iran captured the British flag freighter Stena Impero in the Hormuz Strait. It is believed that Stena will leave Impero to leave Iran after leaving Grace One. The Indian Captain of Grace One issued a statement thanking all the 27 comrades including those who assisted in his release. A spokesman for the Gibraltar government has said that the police process against Indian and other countries members of the tanker’s crew has been completed and has now been released. Apart from India, citizens of Russia, Philippines and Latvia are also employed on this Panama flagged Iranian tanker.