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Grace 1 detention “entirely lawful”, Commons hears

Johnny Bugeja

The detention of Iranian tanker Grace 1 was “entirely lawful”, a Conservative MP told the House of Commons yesterday.

UK MP Christopher Pincher replied to questions at the House of Commons regarding the EU sanctions under which Grace 1 was seized under.

“The action taken by the Government of Gibraltar was entirely lawful in line with both EU and Gibraltarian law,” Mr Pincher said.

“Action was taken as the oil was believed to be travelling to an entity that is subject to EU sanctions under EU regulation 36/2012.”

“Article 14(2) of Council Regulation (EU) No 36/2012 provides that no funds or economic resources shall be made available, directly or indirectly, to or for the benefit of persons designated under the EU Syria sanctions regime.”

Mr Pincher added that the definition of ‘economic resources’ within the Regulation encompasses assets of every kind, including oil.

“The Government of Gibraltar had reasonable grounds to suspect that the Grace One intended to supply oil to Baniyas Refinery Company in Syria, which has been designated by the EU since 23 July 2014.”