British Royal Marines seized a tanker full of Iranian oil after claims it was breaching sanctions by sailing crude oil to Syria

Grace 1 tanker Iran Gibraltar Royal MarinesThe Grace 1 oil tanker, seen off Gibraltar on July 4 after being boarded by the Royal Marines.AP Photo/Marcos Moreno

  • An oil tanker was seized by British Royal Marines in Gibraltar after it was accused of breaching EU sanctions by bringing Iranian oil to Syria.
  • An Iranian government spokesman said the tanker had been illegally detained.
  • The EU imposes sanctions on Syria over its treatment of civilians under President Bashar Assad.
  • Spain's caretaker foreign minister said that the UK stopped the tanker at the request of the US.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

British Royal Marines helped to seize an oil tanker after it claims that it was of breaching EU sanctions by bringing Iranian oil to Syria.

The tanker, Grace 1, was seized in British territory off Gibraltar on Thursday. According to Reuters, it had previously sailed around around Africa from the Middle East, Reuters reported.

A spokesman for the Iranian government said on Thursday that the tanker had been illegally stopped from passing through the Strait of Gibraltar by the UK. It said Iran had summoned the British ambassador to its Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Tehran.

Reuters reported earlier on Thursday that it had seen data that suggested the oil was Iranian. The ship's documents say that the oil is from Iraq, Reuters said.

Royal Marines Gibraltar Grace 1 tanker IranBritish Royal Marines head towards the Grace 1 oil tanker, seized in the Mediterranean on July 4, 2019.AP Photo/Marcos Moreno

A spokesperson for the UK Ministry of Defence told Business Insider that the Royal Marines acted at the request of local authorities in Gibraltar, which is a British territory with its own government.

The Associated Press reported that authorities believed the ship was going to a government-owned oil refinery in Syria, which would be a breach of sanctions on the country.

The EU imposed sanctions against Syria's government over its treatment of civilians under President Bashar Assad. It has banned shipments of oil to Syria since 2011.

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