Four Indian nationals are in detention in Gibraltar in connection with an ongoing investigation into an Iranian oil supertanker seized final week for breaching the European Union (EU) sanctions against Syria, as Royal Gibraltar Police arrested two extra Indian sailors on Friday.
The present-day arrests of the second one buddies aboard the vessel named Grace I, follow the arrest of the captain and leader officer of the ship on Thursday on suspicion of breaching the EU sanctions in opposition to Syria.
“All 4 men are Indian nationals and they had been granted full criminal assistance, cellphone contact with their households and get admission to their consular government,” Royal Gibraltar Police stated in an assertion.
“The arrest of the two officials, who are now held in custody on the RGP headquarters in New Mole House assisting police with their inquiries, follows the detention the day prior to this [Thursday] of the vessel’s captain and chief officer,” the declaration said.
It is also in connection with the equal investigation of the suspected export of crude oil to the Banyas refinery in Syria, in contravention of an EU ban against the Middle Eastern united states, it stated.
The Indian High Commission in London stated that it is in contact with the authorities and “consular get entry to has been sought and all assistance might be furnished to the Indian citizens”.
The arrested guys have been aboard Panama flagged supertanker Grace I that turned into detained off Europa Point, stated the police pressure in Gibraltar, a British Overseas Territory on the Spanish coast.
The Gibraltar port and law enforcement corporations had detained the supertanker and its cargo on July 4 in the course of an operation conducted through the RGP, Customs and Port Authority with the help of British Royal Marines.
The master and chief officer of the ship have been held on the subject of breaches of the European Union Regulations 36/2012, concerning restrictive measures in view of the scenario in Syria, the nearby police stated.
“The Grace I continues detained below the provisions of the Sanctions Regulations 2019 which might be born out of the Sanctions Act 2019,” a police statement said.
Iran blames the US for arranging to have its deliver seized inside the wake of sanctions imposed towards Tehran with the intention of halting all its oil exports. European international locations do now not have sanctions in opposition to Iran however have had them in location towards Iran’s ally Syria because of 2011.
Iran has reiterated calls for the UK to launch its oil tanker and warned Britain not to get concerned in “this risky sport”.
“This is a risky recreation and we endorse them now not get concerned on this game below America’s have an impact on,” stated Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson Abbas Mousavi.
“We ask them again to launch the tanker right now, as a way to be in all nations’ interest,” Abbas Mousavi said.
Iran has previously claimed the tanker becomes now not bound for Syria and threatened to capture a British oil tanker in retaliation if its tanker becomes not launched.
Gibraltar has insisted its selection to detain the Iranian tanker was taken on my own and no longer based totally on any political concerns.
The semi-self reliant British Overseas Territory’s Chief Minister Fabian Picardo instructed the Gibraltar Parliament, “The selections of Her Majesty’s Government of Gibraltar have been taken totally independently, based on breaches of present law and on no account based totally on extraneous political issues. These critical decisions approximately breaches of our legal guidelines were no longer choices taken on the political behest or education of every other country or 1/3 birthday celebration.”
Picardo said the vessel contained 2.1 million barrels of mild crude oil and become detained because there have been “reasonable grounds” to trust it become in breach of EU sanctions.
“We will no longer allow Gibraltar for use or knowingly or unknowingly complicit within the breach of EU or different international sanctions,” he introduced.
The entire affair has led to an boom in anxiety in the Gulf, with UK Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt calling for a “time for cool heads”.
Britain brought ahead plans to send a 2nd warship to the Gulf amid an escalation of the standoff among Iran and the United Kingdom over the Grace 1 oil tanker’s detention.
HMS Duncan, that’s presently within the Mediterranean, is expected to join HMS Montrose within the location 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-status presence inside the Gulf, HMS Duncan is deploying to the region to ensure we hold a continuous maritime security presence while HMS Montrose comes off the task for pre-deliberate renovation and group changeover,” a UK authorities spokesperson said.
“This will make certain that the UK, alongside global partners, can retain to help freedom of navigation for vessels transiting thru this vital shipping lane,” the spokesperson delivered.