News ID: 255429
Published: 0225 GMT July 07, 2019

Iran: Oil tanker seized by UK not bound for Syria

Iran: Oil tanker seized by UK not bound for Syria
A British Royal Navy patrol vessel guards the oil supertanker Grace 1 as it sits anchored in waters of Gibraltar on July 4, 2019.

Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi Iran said an oil supertanker seized by Britain in Gibraltar was not carrying oil to Syria, denouncing the seizure as “maritime piracy.”

British Royal Marines boarded the Grace 1 on Thursday and seized it over accusations it was breaking sanctions by taking oil to Syria, Press TV reported.

“Contrary to Britain’s announcement, the tanker was not bound for Syria, and the port mentioned is not capable of receiving such a tanker,” Araqchi told reporters at a news conference in Tehran Sunday.

The seized tanker is a two-million-barrel-capacity very large crude carrier (VLCC), Araqchi said, adding it could not pass through the Suez Canal and that was why it had to go the extra mile through Gibraltar.

The tanker was in international waters when it was encroached on, he said, disputing London's claims that Royal Marines boarded the ship off the coast of the British territory.

Spain has said it planned to lodge a formal complaint about the action, because it considers the sea around Gibraltar to be part of its international waters. Spanish authorities have said the seizure came at the request of the US.

"In this regard, the law will take its course. This is a maritime piracy; the tanker was in international waters," Araqchi said, adding Iran had summoned the British ambassador to Tehran twice in protest.

"We hope the tanker issue will be resolved soon," he said.




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