(Bloomberg) -- A Gibraltar court will hold a closed hearing Thursday on the detention of the Grace 1, the oil supertanker seized by British authorities last month on suspicion of hauling Iranian crude to Syria in violation of European sanctions.
Iran has pushed for the release of the ship, and its semi-official Fars News agency said earlier this week that such action could come soon; the current detention order for the vessel expires Saturday. Gibraltar’s authorities have not commented publicly on the matter. The hearing is at 10:30 a.m. Gibraltar time.
The seizure of the Grace 1 on July 4 near the U.K. territory sparked a diplomatic row, and Iran later detained a British-flagged vessel, which it continues to hold.
The dispute is one of several events that have strained relations between Iran and the West in recent months, threatening shipping through the Strait of Hormuz, the world’s most critical choke-point for oil supplies. The U.S. last year reimposed sanctions on the Persian Gulf state, and the British Royal Navy last month intervened to prevent Iranian vessels from impeding the journey of a tanker operated by BP Plc.
--With assistance from Charles Penty.
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