British Marines seize Iranian oil tanker allegedly on its way to Syria
PORT OF GIBRALTAR — British Royal Marines seized a Iranian tanker on its way to Syria through Gibraltar on Thursday for violating EU sanctions, Reuters reports.
Gibraltar authorities said they had reason to believe the Grace 1 tanker was carrying crude oil to the Baniyas refinery in Syria.
According to the Guardian, Britain said troops seized the ship early morning on July 4 to enforce EU sanctions against Syria.
Royal Marines from 42 Commando landed on the ship by descending from a Wildcat helicopter.
Images from the UK's Ministry of Defence show other British troops reaching the vessel via a speedboat.
Gibraltar authorities said in a tweet the vessel departed Iran in mid-April for what they believed to be Syria by sailing around Africa.
It was seized when it entered British territorial waters.
Iranian state news agency IRNA cited an official from the Foreign Ministry as saying that the tanker was sailing in international waters and was seized illegally by the United Kingdom.
Tehran has since summoned the UK's ambassador to Iran over what it is referring to as the "illegal seizure" of its oil tanker.
The Syrian government has yet to respond to the incident.