0444 GMT July 17, 2019
Police said earlier on Friday that they had arrested the two second mates from the tanker, a day after the vessel’s captain and chief officer were also arrested, Reuters reported.
In a statement, the police said all four crew members of the Grace 1 tanker were granted bail with conditions. It did not elaborate, but said the investigation was ongoing and that the Grace 1 continues to be detained.
Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Seyyed Abbas Mousavi rejected the UK claim that Iranian tanker was carrying oil to Syria, saying that it was not bound for Syria because no Syrian port could receive a vessel of such capacity.
Mousavi urged Britain to immediately release the supertanker, warning London against entering a “dangerous game with no end in sight.”
The Iranian spokesman advised the UK against such a scenario “under the current circumstances.”
“We still demand that they release this oil tanker as soon as possible because that’s to the benefit of everyone,” he added.
British Foreign Minister Jeremy Hunt said London is not seeking to escalate the situation with Iran, according to Reuters.
“We are reacting to what is happening in a measured and careful way and we are being clear to Iran that we are not seeking to escalate this situation,” he told Sky News.
On July 4, Gibraltar police and customs agencies, aided by a detachment of British Royal Marines, boarded and impounded Iranian supertanker Grace 1 in the Strait of Gibraltar, upon a “request from the United States.”
The British and Gibraltarian officials claim that the 300,000-ton supertanker was possibly transferring up to two million barrels of oil to the Baniyas refinery in Syria in breach of EU sanctions against the Arab country.