Gibraltar’s authorities have released from custody the captain and three crewmembers of the Iranian Grace 1 tanker, which was detained by Gibraltar (British overseas territory on the Pyrenean coast) on July 4, the Gibraltar Chronicle newspaper reported, citing Gibraltar’s government, ONA reports citing TASS.
The Panama-registered Grace 1 supertanker was detained by Gibraltar on July 4 on suspicion that it was transporting crude oil to Syria in violation of sanctions. The UK Royal Marines took part in the operation. According to Gibraltar authorities, the 28 crewmembers, citizens of India, Pakistan and Ukraine, were aboard the tanker. Acting Spanish Foreign Minister Josep Borell said that the vessel was seized at the US request. Gibraltar’s police arrested the captain of the tanker, the chief mate and two crewmembers.
The British territory of Gibraltar will on Thursday release an Iranian oil tanker seized by Royal Marines in the Mediterranean in July, the Sun newspaper reported, citing sources close to Gibraltar Chief Minister Fabian Picardo, ONA reports quoting Reuters.
Picardo would not apply to renew an order to detain Grace 1, the report said, adding that he is now satisfied that the oil tanker is no longer heading to Syria.
Britain had said the vessel was violating European sanctions by taking oil to Syria, a charge Iran denies.
“There is no reason to keep Grace 1 in Gibraltar a moment longer if we no longer believe it is in breach of sanctions against the Syrian regime,” the newspaper quoted a source close to Picardo as saying.