Washington DC, August 17: The United States has on Friday issued a warrant to seize the Iranian Grace1 supertanker captured by the British Royal Marine last month in Gibraltar for allegedly breaching international sanctions by shipping crude oil to Syria.
Though the Gibraltar Supreme Court yesterday ruled in favour of Iran and called to release the Grace1 vessel after 43 days of detention, the vessel moved position but still being anchored late on Friday in the British Mediterranean territory.
As per the issued warrant on Friday, the US state department alleged the vessel was a part of a scheme “to unlawfully access the US financial system to support illicit shipments to Syria from Iran by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps”.
According to the court documents, the Grace1 vessel carrying 2.1 million oil barrels aboard are charged based on violations of the International Emergency Economic Powers Act, money, laundering, bank fraud, as well as, “terrorism” statutes, according to Al-Jazeera news.
It has also directed the seizure of USD 995,000 in an account of an unnamed American bank collaborated with Paradise Global Trading LLC – a shell firm associated with various businesses in relation to Iran’s Revolutionary Guards.
However, there were no words from Gibraltar or Britain over the issuing of the warrant, as Tehran claimed it was passing a new ship crew to pilot the oil tanker.