Four Indian nationals are in detention in Gibraltar in reference to an ongoing investigation into an Iranian oil supertanker seized closing week for breaching the European Union (EU) sanctions in opposition to Syria, as Royal Gibraltar Police arrested two greater Indian sailors on Friday.
The brand new arrests of the second pals aboard the vessel named Grace I, comply with the arrest of the captain and leader officer of the ship on Thursday on suspicion of breaching the EU sanctions against Syria.
“All four men are Indian nationals and they had been granted full felony help, phone touch with their families and access to their consular authorities,” Royal Gibraltar Police said in an announcement.
“The arrest of the 2 officials, who’re now held in custody at the RGP headquarters in New Mole House assisting police with their inquiries, follows the detention the day gone by [Thursday] of the vessel’s captain and leader officer,” the assertion stated.
It is also in connection with the same investigation of the suspected export of crude oil to the Banyas refinery in Syria, in contravention of an EU ban towards the Middle Eastern us of a, it said.
The Indian High Commission in London said that it’s miles in touch with the government and “consular get entry to has been sought and all help may be provided to the Indian residents”.
The arrested guys had been aboard Panama flagged supertanker Grace I that was detained off Europa Point, stated the police pressure in Gibraltar, a British Overseas Territory at the Spanish coast.
The Gibraltar port and regulation enforcement corporations had detained the supertanker and its cargo on July 4 at some point of an operation performed by the RGP, Customs and Port Authority with the help of British Royal Marines.
The master and leader officer of the ship had been held on the subject of breaches of the European Union Regulations 36/2012, regarding restrictive measures in view of the situation in Syria, the local police said.
“The Grace I maintains detained underneath the provisions of the Sanctions Regulations 2019 that are born out of the Sanctions Act 2019,” a police declaration said.
Iran blames the US for arranging to have its ship seized inside the wake of sanctions imposed in opposition to Tehran with the intention of halting all its oil exports. European international locations do now not have sanctions against Iran but have had them in place in opposition to Iran’s ally Syria on the grounds that 2011.
Iran has reiterated calls for the UK to release its oil tanker and warned Britain no longer to get worried in “this dangerous sport”.
“This is a risky recreation and we advise them now not get worried in this recreation below America’s effect,” said Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson Abbas Mousavi.
“We ask them once more to launch the tanker without delay, which will be in all nations’ hobby,” Abbas Mousavi said.
Iran has previously claimed the tanker was no longer bound for Syria and threatened to seize a British oil tanker in retaliation if its tanker was not launched.
Gibraltar has insisted its selection to detain the Iranian tanker turned into taken by myself and not primarily based on any political issues.
The semi-autonomous British Overseas Territory’s Chief Minister Fabian Picardo informed the Gibraltar Parliament, “The selections of Her Majesty’s Government of Gibraltar were taken completely independently, based on breaches of present law and in no way primarily based on extraneous political concerns. These important selections approximately breaches of our legal guidelines were not choices taken on the political behest or instruction of another kingdom or third celebration.”
Picardo said the vessel contained 2.1 million barrels of light crude oil and changed into detained due to the fact there were “affordable grounds” to consider it became in breach of EU sanctions.
“We will no longer permit Gibraltar for use or knowingly or unknowingly complicit in the breach of EU or different global sanctions,” he added.
The whole affair has brought about an growth in tension within the Gulf, with UK Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt calling for a “time for cool heads”.
Britain brought forward plans to send a 2nd warship to the Gulf amid an escalation of the standoff between Iran and the United Kingdom over the Grace 1 oil tanker’s detention.
HMS Duncan, that is currently within the Mediterranean, is anticipated to enroll in HMS Montrose in the area next week. It follows a face-off regarding HMS Montrose, a British frigate shadowing a BP-owned tanker, and Iranian boats looking to hinder the British oil tanker on Thursday.
“As part of our long-standing presence inside the Gulf, HMS Duncan is deploying to the vicinity to ensure we preserve a continuous maritime protection presence at the same time as HMS Montrose comes off venture for pre-planned protection and team changeover,” a UK authorities spokesperson stated.
“This will make sure that the United Kingdom, along worldwide companions, can hold to support freedom of navigation for vessels transiting via this important transport lane,” the spokesperson delivered.