Gibraltar Seizes Syria-Bound Tanker Thought to Be Carrying Iranian Oil

July 4, 2019


Palko Karasz and Raphael Minder


The New York Times

Related Country: 

  • Spain
  • United Kingdom

British and Gibraltar authorities seized a tanker carrying Iranian crude oil which was reportedly destined for the Banyas Refinery in Syria. Spanish Foreign Minister Joseph Borrell asserted that the seizure was “a request from the United States to the United Kingdom.” International monitors reported that the ship, Grace 1, turned off its electronic tracking system while in Iranian waters, a common tactic to avoid U.S. sanctions. Officials from the U.K. and Gibraltar, however, cited EU sanctions prohibiting oil sales to Syria in detaining the tanker. Iran acknowledged that Grace 1 was carrying Iranian oil but denounced the seizure as “illegal” and summoned the British Ambassador.