Gibraltar court extends detention of oil tanker

Gibraltar court extends detention of oil tanker”

Picardo said Thursday he had a "constructive and positive" meeting with Iranian officials in London aimed at defusing tensions around the detention of the tanker in the British territory's waters.

"The Prime Minister and Chief Minister. discussed the latest developments in the Gibraltarian legal case on the detained oil tanker Grace I", a spokesman for May's office said after talks with Fabian Picardo.

The tanker is suspected of carrying Iranian oil to Syria in breach of European Union sanctions on Syrian President Bashar Assad's government, and its seizure stoked worldwide tensions over the Persian Gulf.

The Iranian supertanker was seized with the help of the British Royal Marines earlier this month off Gibraltar's coast over suspicions it was breaking sanctions by transporting oil to Syria.

"At a private meeting of the Supreme Court on an application by the Attorney General, the Court has extended the period of detention of the vessel, Grace 1, for a further 30 days and has set a new hearing for 15 August 2019", the Gibraltar government said on Friday (July 19).

Gibraltar and United States officials believed the tanker was destined for Syria to deliver oil, in violation of separate sets of European Union and USA sanctions.

Iran has reacted with fury at what it termed "piracy" and warned it would not let the interception go unanswered.

British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said Saturday that Britain will facilitate the release the ship if Iran can provide guarantees the vessel will not breach the sanctions.

Iran denied that its vessels had done any such thing.

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