The Government of Gibraltar has stated that they obtained an order issued by the Supreme Court that will effectively extend the detention of the Grace 1 tanker by two weeks.
According to the authorities of the territory, they had sufficient grounds to believe that the vessel was violating sanctions by transporting oil to Syria.
The government also underlined that the decision to detain the Iranian super-tanker Grace 1 was independent and not dictated by political motives or a third party.
“The decisions of Her Majesty’s Government of Gibraltar were taken totally independently, based on breaches of existing law and not at all based on extraneous political considerations. These important decisions about breaches of our laws were certainly not decisions taken at the political behest or instruction of any other state or of any third party”, the statement read.
Port and law enforcement agencies of the UK overseas territory of Gibraltar, aided by the Royal Marines, seized the 300,000-ton tanker Thursday morning, claiming that the ship was transferring oil to Syria from Iran in violation of EU sanctions on Tehran. Spain’s acting foreign minister, Josep Borrell, reportedly announced that the Grace 1 tanker had been arrested upon a request from the United States.
The United Kingdom’s Ministry of Defence on Thursday welcomed the operation, calling it a ‘firm action by the Gibraltarian authorities, acting to enforce the EU Syria sanctions regime.’
The US national security adviser, John Bolton, celebrated the capture, calling it ‘excellent news.’
Tehran, on its part, has condemned the “illegal” seizure of the tanker and demanded its immediate release.