British Royal Marines and officials in Gibraltar have detained a supertanker suspected of carrying crude oil to Syria, in breach of European Union sanctions, the government of Gibraltar said.

The Grace 1 vessel was halted early on Thursday by Gibraltar police and customs agencies, aided by a detachment of British Royal Marines.

In a statement, the Gibraltar government said it had reasonable grounds to believe that vessel 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,” Gibraltar’s Chief Minister Fabian Picardo said. EU sanctions against the government of Syria took effect in May 2011.

“With my consent, our port and law enforcement agencies sought the assistance of the Royal Marines in carrying out this operation.”

The government published regulations on Wednesday to enforce the sanctions against the tanker and its cargo.

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