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Iran, UK Exchange Documents In Bid To Release Oil Tanker Detained In Gibraltar

A picture shows supertanker Grace-1 off the coast of Gibraltar on July 6, 2019

An official of the Iranian Ports and Shipping Organization says Iran and the United Kingdom have exchanged documents in a bid to release an Iranian oil tanker detained in Gibraltar.

Meanwhile, Gibraltar also announced on Tuesday August 13 that it is seeking to de-escalate tensions arising from the of the Iranian supertanker, adding that the current detention order ends Saturday night.

Breaking the news, Jalil Eslami, the deputy to the organization's chief, did not elaborate on the nature of the documents or any other details. However, he said documents were exchanged after the UK showed interest in releasing the vessel.

Iranian oil tanker Grace-1 was detained on July 4 in Gibraltar on the charges of violating EU sanctions against Syria. Gibraltar authorities said the tanker was carrying Iranian oil to Syria.

Iranian official news agency IRNA on Tuesday August 13 expressed hope that Grace-1 would be released soon.

Tanker Trackers, a company that monitors ship movements, said Grace-1 was sending signals on Monday that indicate it will leave Gibraltar toward a destination in Morocco, although the vessel is still in Gibraltar.

The news about Grace-1 has given rise to hopes about the imminent release of British vessel Stena Impero which was detained by Iran's revolutionary guards about two weeks after the Iranian oil tanker was seized.

Reporting by Iranian media, Reuters