Published On: Tue, Jul 9th, 2019

Grace 1 oil tanker seized by Gibraltar loaded to capacity with crude oil

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The Gibraltar government confirmed that the Grace 1 oil tanker based in , which was seized in its territory, is loaded to capacity with crude oil.

On 4 June, British Royal Marines seized the Iranian oil tanker, a very large crude carrier, on the suspicion that it carrying crude oil to Syria, violating European Union sanctions against Syria.

The government of the British overseas territory said that the results of comprehensive laboratory testing showed that seized Iranian oil tanker was loaded to capacity with crude oil.

“The results of these tests conclusively prove and confirm the information disseminated last week by the Gibraltar Government and contradict the statements of some commentators from outside the jurisdiction who had speculated that the cargo on the vessel was not crude” said the government in a statement.

Grace 1 oil tanker seized by Gibraltar loaded to capacity with crude oil

Grace 1 oil tanker seized by Gibraltar loaded to capacity with crude oil. Photo courtesy of Steve/

British Royal Marines seized the Grace 1 oil tanker when it freely navigated into British Gibraltar Territorial Waters to a point two miles off the Eastside of Gibraltar, on a pre-arranged call for provisions and spare parts.

The detention of the Iranian oil tanker has been made on the accusations that the tanker was destined to the Banyas refinery in Syria, which is owned by a company, the Banyas Oil Refinery Company, which is currently facing European sanctions.

“In fact, we have reason to believe that the Grace 1 was carrying its shipment of crude oil to the Banyas Refinery in Syria.

“That refinery is the property of an entity that is subject to European Union sanctions against Syria,” the government said in a statement released after the detention.

The Gibraltar government has also obtained an order from the Court of Gibraltar to detain the Grace 1 oil tanker until 19 July.

Condemning the detention of its Grace 1 oil tanker,  the Iranian defence minister, Amir Hatami was quoted by Al Jazeera as saying in a speech broadcast live on state television that the tanker’s seizure “will not be tolerated by us and will not go without a response.”

Iran Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said the detention of the tanker by Britain has set “a dangerous precedent and must end now.”

“Iran is neither a member of the nor subject to any European oil embargo. Last I checked, EU was against extraterritoriality. UK’s unlawful seizure of a tanker with Iranian oil on behalf of #B_Team is piracy, pure and simple”, tweeted Mohammad Javad Zarif.

Meanwhile, Bloomberg reported that an oil tanker run by British multinational oil and gas company BP Plc is currently sheltered inside the Persian Gulf on fears of getting seized by Iran in reply to the Gibraltar action.

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