Indian captain, Iranian tanker officer arrested by the Gibraltar police

LONDON: The police in Gibraltar , a British overseas territory on the Spanish coast, said on Thursday it had arrested the captain and the chief officer, believed to be Indian citizens, of an Iranian oil supertanker captured by his officers last week.

Both men were aboard Grace 1, who is accused of raping European Union Sanctions on Syria.

"As part of the ongoing investigation which led to the detention of the VCCL Grace 1 last week, the master and chief officer of the said vessel have been arrested today [Thursday] in relation to breaches of European Union Regulations 36/2012 concerning restrictive measures in view of the situation in Syria," a Royal Gibraltar Police statement said.

This follows a prolonged search of the vessel where documents and electronic devices have been seized and examined, he noted.

Both men have not yet been charged and are currently being interviewed under caution at the Royal Gibraltar Headquarters of the police in the house of New Mole.

Both have been granted their legal rights and access to consular representation. The investigation is still ongoing and Grace 1 continues to be detained under the provisions of Sanctions Regulation 2019 that are born from the Sanctions Law 2019, added the police statement.

On July 4, authorities said there was reason to believe that Grace 1 was transporting Iranian crude oil to the Baniyas refinery in Syria in violation of EU sanctions. Gibraltar The port and police agencies had stopped the supertanker and its cargo with the help of the Royal Marines of Great Britain.

Earlier on Thursday, the UK Ministry of Defense (MoD) said Iranian ships tried to prevent a British tanker near the Gulf, before being expelled by a ship. HMS Montrose, a British frigate following an oil tanker owned by BP, was forced to move between the three ships and the tanker, a Defense Ministry spokesman said.

The Iranian actions in the last incident have been described by the United Kingdom against.

The latest incident comes after the Iranian president warned Britain of consequences on the seizure of the country's supertanker last week.