Royal Marines Seize Iranian Tanker
42 Commando Board Grace 1 in Strait of Gibraltar
42 Commando of the Royal Marines supported officials in Gibraltar, Thursday, as they seized Iranian supertanker Grace 1 on suspicion of smuggling crude oil to Syria.
Shipping crude oil to Syria would be a breach of EU sanctions. About 30 marines from J Company, 42 Commando, were involved in the operation. The commandos boarded the tanker quickly and without incident, according to the MOD. Gibraltar Police followed on board shortly after and took over command of the vessel.
Gibraltar authorities stated that there was reason to believe the ship was carrying Iranian crude oil to the Baniyas Refinery in Tartous, Syria.
Iran has threatened to seize a British tanker in retaliation, if Grace 1 is not released.
A member of a Ayatollah Khamenei’s advisory council said in a tweet: “If Britain does not release the Iranian oil tanker, it is the authorities’ duty to seize a British oil tanker.”
Gibraltar was initially able to detain Grace 1 for 72-hours. Gibraltar’s Supreme Court ruled Friday that a 14-day extension would be granted.
Image: a member of J Company, 42 Commando, Royal Marines, during the seizure of supertanker Grace 1, suspected of breaching EU sanctions (Crown Copyright, 2019). Photograph by LPhot Shepard.