A fuel tanker believed to be carrying crude oil to Syria in violation of EU sanctions has been detained in Gibraltar.

The vessel, ‘Grace 1’, was halted in the early hours of this morning by Gibraltar police and customs agencies, aided by a detachment of Royal Marines.

“We have reason to believe that the Grace 1 was carrying its shipment of crude oil to the Banyas Refinery in Syria,” Gibraltar’s Chief Minister Fabian Picardo said in a statement.

“That refinery is the property of an entity that is subject to European Union sanctions against Syria.”

In 2011, the EU imposed a number of sanctions against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s government in response to “the continuing brutal campaign” against its own people.

Picardo added:

“I want to thank the brave men and women of the Royal Marines, the Royal Gibraltar Police, HM Customs Gibraltar and the Gibraltar Port Authority for their work in securing the detention of this vessel and its cargo.

Be assured that Gibraltar remains safe, secure and committed to the international rules-based legal order.”

In a statement, the Foreign Office said “we welcome this firm action by the Gibraltarian authorities, acting to enforce the EU Syria Sanctions regime”.

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When Harold Wilson sent a frigate to police oil tankers with crude oil destined for Rhodesia during sanctions against Ian Smith it was said that not a drop was ever halted. More often than not the Captains involved would pull alongside for a tot or two and some lunch! Same with the RAF pilots flying Javelins from Zambia-would exchange pleasantries with Rhodesian Air Force Hunters on hot pursuit missions over the border.
Sanctions busting is tough work!!


Oil from Nigeria or Venezuela? No need for Gulf or Russian oil to pass via Gibraltar

James M

BBC suggesting it’s from Iran. If so, guessing they took the long route to try to avoid the US presence around the Suez and East Africa.




back in the day as 3rd mate on a product tanker we took a 90% cargo of avgas from Libya and then topped up (5%) in (Skikda) Algeria. The Bill of Lading was produced in Algeria and we steamed up to the Isle of grain to discharge…at the time we just did what we were told to – now it seems looking back all a bit whiffy….all on a famous shipping company vessel!!


Assad was elected and the people that are fighting Assad are terrorists! The sanctions aren’t right!!

The artist formerly known as Los Pollos Chicken

Eh dunno cam , the man is a Dictator the elected part is really only a cosmetic sham however those fighting him that caused all the death and misery are indeed terrorists

Unfortunately strong dictators like Assad, Saddam, ect are the only ones that seem to be able to keep the Islamic wackos in check. Every time the West takes out one of the “dictators” the Jihadists take over the country and run wild.

Daniele Mandelli

After the mess of Libya/Gaddafi and Iraq/Saddam I think we should leave dictators alone.

Assad is backed by Russia. his ally. We should leave well alone.

I’m not aware of any quarrel Assad has with Britain?

Alan Garner

When you look at some of the horrendous regimes the UK supports, some in the same region as Syria, a moral objection to nasty people isn’t credible. The use of chemical weapons is a game changer, which leads one to question why anyone in Assad’s position would ever use them. Certainly makes one think…..

Geoffrey Hicking

Genuine Question: What do you think of Nepal? (government, democratic reforms, etc)

Mad Murdoch

When you play the game Civilization, the UN invades when it feels like it, which is generally 50% of the time. I think it is a fair representation of real life, that these are very wise words. Middle Eastern terrorism did not exist in the UK until US F-111s launched from Fairford against Libya. Shortly after Pan Am 103 exploded over Lockerbie. The rest Daniele Mandelli describes above…


It is interesting this situation, if the reports are true and it was Iranian oil, what will RN do if Iranian contractors start traveling on oil ships or Russian Navy starts escorting?

Ivan Jackson

I suppose if the tanker concerned is in British waters there is not a lot the Russian navy could do.

Daniele Mandelli

I’d not want a confrontation with Russia over Iran Oil, or anything else. After the Cold War you should have been our allies.


Personally I agree with you Daniele, it is a pity and a wasted opportunity that it will not happen


With Libya it was NATO immediate action to stop a massacre in benghazi from Gaddafi forces ,the mistakes where made after the war, and the trend with dictator regimes seems to be is that if left alone they to like to use chemical weapons, saddam did it ,so did assad and Russia, not to mention putin annoucing ,very wrongly and fanatically that liberalism is dead.
Now I really dont think we want them as friends and as I have said before you name me one arab nation that is a democracy.

Meirion X

It is Iran breaking International Sanctions Law in this case, why would Russia want to be fully backing a law breaking Fundamentalist regime? I thought Russia is against any form of Islamic Fundamentalism?? It says it results in terrorism!!


Because Russia is desperate for tade partners and open ports hence their involvment in Syria.




You are thinking small Dave, sure the trade partners are needed but Syria will not be much of one for a while, the port is good, but we would of got that from Assad anyway, being able to kill many the 5000 odd Russian citizens who went to fight for IS was a definite bonus and Syria proved to be a very data rich environment for the military, but Syria is only 1 piece, Iran, Turkey, Egypt, Iraq, China and even many European countries etc, they are all important and all are now seeing a alternative to the current US… Read more »


🙂 I shouldnt worry about the uk trade wise Ulya, we are the 5th largest economy in the world and although Im against brexit I think we have a robust enough economy to take it, as for Russia whos economy 12th largest and heavily depends gas and oil when the world is trying to cut down due climate change ,need to diversify more than we do.



This by the guy who is going to be the new EU Foreign Policy Chief, you can see the writing on the wall for EU policy on Gib once we have left the EU, also Spain, what a NATO partner!!

Meirion X

I wonder if there was any IRG officers on board?
If so, bring them back to the UK and press charges on them.
It would be a bit rich if the Iranians complain, they pressed spying charges on a innocent woman!
If think they will start bargaining Nazine for IRG officers!


just shows the importance of having Gib really, a sensible good UN backing country as opposed to the flip flop dons, who switch sides at the drop if a hat