World

Gibraltar Rejects US Warrant To Seize Grace 1 Supertanker

Gibraltar's Supreme Court ordered the vessel, the Grace 1, to be freed on Friday.

Gibraltar has rejected a US request to seize the Iranian oil tanker that was detained on suspicion of transporting oil to Syria.

The US Justice Department issued a warrant to seize the Iranian oil tanker, a day after a judge in Gibraltar ordered it to be released.

But the government in Gibraltar said it's unable to comply as it's bound by EU law.

The Grace 1 supertanker, which is carrying 2.1 million barrels of oil, was seized by Royal Marines and local police last month.

It was detained on 4 July on suspicion of illegally transporting oil to Syria.

The US claimed it could seize the ship and the barrels of oil it's carrying over alleged violations of terrorism statutes and the International Emergency Economic Powers Act.

Two weeks after the oil tanker was detained, on 19 July, Iran seized the British-flagged oil tanker Stena Impero, which remains held by the Islamic Republic.

Despite Iran saying the tanker failed "to respect international maritime rule", it was widely believed to be an act of retaliation.

The Justice Department noted: "A seizure warrant is merely an allegation."

Neither Tehran nor London have responded to the warrant.