An Iranian oil tanker was seized by the British Royal Marines and Gibraltar authorities on Thursday as it was allegedly taking oil to Syria in violation of EU sanctions, according to Reuters.
Oil supertanker bound for Syria detained in Gibraltar. Refinitiv Eikon mapping indicates the Grace 1 sailed from Iran, and if the cargo were confirmed to be Iranian crude, its attempted delivery to Syria could also be a violation of U.S. sanctions. https://t.co/qMjBbj5YCV pic.twitter.com/RBfjubfnI3— Reuters Top News (@Reuters) July 4, 2019
The Grace 1 oil tanker was intercepted by the Royal Marines at Gibraltar. Though they didn’t mention the Iranians, the government of Iran immediately slammed the action as “illegal,” and called the British ambassador to level a “strong objection” to the seizure. The Grace 1 was flagged by Panama, and reportedly was owned by a Singapore company. Iran’s immediate claim to the tanker revealed its origin. It was actually an Iranian oil tanker.
“We have detained the vessel and its cargo. We have reason to believe that the Grace 1 was carrying its shipment of crude oil to the Baniyas refinery in Syria.” Fabian Picardo, Gibraltar Chief Minister
The tanker was boarded Thursday morning by Gibraltar port and law enforcement agencies, and the Royal Marines, at the request of the United States, according to the NY Post.
The Gibraltar authorities didn’t confirm the origin of the ship’s cargo, but Lloyd’s List, a publication specializing in maritime affairs, reported this week that the Panama-flagged large carrier was laden with Iranian oil.
According to a UN list, the ship is owned by Singapore-based Grace Tankers Ltd.
The vessel likely carried just over 2 million barrels of Iranian crude oil, the data firm Refinitv said. Tracking data showed that the tanker made a slow trip around the southern tip of Africa before reaching the Mediterranean, it said.New York Post
So in a nutshell, the seizing of the Iranian oil tanker makes Iran even more angry than they already are, and Spain is ticked off because Gibraltar is disputed territory.
Featured photo: screenshot of Grace 1- an Iranian oil tanker via Malaysian news