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Gibraltar confirms supertanker Grace 1 is carrying crude oil

The Grace 1 is still off Gibraltar while investigations continue .
The Grace 1 is still off Gibraltar while investigations continue . / SUR
  • The ship was detained on Thursday last week after indications that it was planning to supply a sanctioned refinery in Syria

The Gibraltar government has confirmed that detailed analysis has been carried out of the cargo being carried by supertanker Grace 1, and this conclusively proves that the ship is loaded to capacity with crude oil.

The statement came after speculation from commentators outside Gibraltar that the ship was carrying something other than crude.

The Grace 1 was detained in a joint operation between Gibraltar Port, the Royal Gibraltar Police and Royal Marines on Thursday last week, when it freely navigated from international waters in the Straits of Gibraltar into Gibraltarian waters, for a pre-scheduled visit for provisions and spare parts.

As Gibraltar is part of the EU, it was legally obliged to take action once it was aware of the suspicions regarding the ship's destination, and the Gibraltar authorities requested assistance from the Royal Marines in the UK as they did not have the necessary resources to carry out the operation alone.

The ship was boarded two miles off the Eastside of Gibraltar, and the vessel and crew were detained. The reason is because of indications that it was en route to the Banyas refinery in Syria. The refinery owner, the Banyas Oil Refinery Company, is the subject of European Union sanctions under EU regulation 36/2012, which is directly applicable in Gibraltar.

The Grace 1 remains in the same location, because the Gibraltar Supreme Court approved a 14-day extension of the detention period following the initial 72 hours.

Police investigations are continuing, and the ship remains detained under the order of the Chief Justice of Gibraltar's Supreme Court.