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.
Grace 1 at the Eastside of #Gibraltar under the eye of the @RGPolice. @RoyalNavy HMS Echo in the background was not involved in the operation to seize the vessel. https://t.co/X1OMP7j8b4 pic.twitter.com/QRPbcxVaxA
— David Parody ?? (@dparody) July 4, 2019
“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.
“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”.