Royal Marines used excessive force, says tanker captain

Royal Marines prepare to disembark Grace 1Image copyright Ministry of Defence
Image caption Royal Marines landed of their helicopter on Grace 1

The captain of a tanker seized for sporting Iranian oil has mentioned Royal Marines used excessive power in detaining his send.

Earlier this month, UK forces helped government in Gibraltar who believed the tanker used to be sporting oil to a Syrian refinery in breach of EU sanctions.

The captain mentioned marines made his unarmed staff kneel at the deck at gunpoint.

Gibraltar police mentioned “minimum force” used to be used to take keep watch over of the vessel.

On 4 July, about 30 marines, from 42 Commando, had been flown from the United Kingdom to Gibraltar to assist detain the tanker and its shipment, on the request of the Gibraltar executive.

The vessel’s captain, an Indian nationwide who requested to not be named, mentioned he used to be radioed a police request to board his send and had reduced his ladder.

But earlier than somebody may just board, an army helicopter landed at the send in “a very dangerous move”, he mentioned.

Image copyright Reuters

He instructed the BBC he had known himself because the captain however the marines overlooked him, and as a substitute pointed their weapons and shouted “look forward, look forward”.

He mentioned: “They did not care whether or not I used to be grasp… there used to be no rules… we had 28 unarmed staff. I used to be in a state of outrage, everyone used to be in a state of outrage.

“How do you return on a boat like this with militia and such brute power. For what reason why?”

He mentioned the marines will have boarded the send and easily instructed him he were arrested.

Image copyright MoD

The captain agreed to talk to the BBC on situation his title used to be no longer used because the staff had been steered by way of Indian High Commission officers to stay nameless.

Asked whether or not he felt there used to be the rest illegitimate about his send or the shipment, he mentioned he had “adopted corporate procedures”, including he didn’t know in regards to the EU sanctions in opposition to Syria.

Royal Gibraltar Police mentioned the marines had acted in fortify of its officials and carried out “the minimal use of power” to verify officials may just get on board, take care of the staff and take keep watch over of the vessel.

It added that the send’s 4 senior officials were interviewed beneath warning.

The Gibraltar executive mentioned it had proof which contradicted statements made by way of the captain, and it might unlock its personal remark quickly.

It mentioned it had reason why to consider the send used to be sporting Iranian crude oil to the Baniyas Refinery in Syria, which the EU says supplies monetary fortify to the Syrian executive. The refinery has been topic to EU sanctions since 2014.

The BBC has approached the Ministry of Defence for remark.

The seizure of the tanker sparked a diplomatic disaster between the United Kingdom and Iran, which has escalated during the last 4 weeks.

On 19 July, British-flagged oil tanker Stena Impero used to be seized by way of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard in the important thing transport direction, the Strait of Hormuz.

Tehran mentioned the vessel used to be “violating global maritime laws” but the UK called the incident an example of “state piracy”.

The newly-appointed UK Foreign Secretary, Dominic Raab, mentioned if Tehran needs to “pop out of the darkish” and be permitted by way of the global neighborhood, it has to obey its laws and unlock the Stena Impero.

UK-Iran stress within the Gulf

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Media captionFootage launched by way of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard-affiliated Fars information company seems to turn Stena Impero being seized
  • 4 July: Royal Marines assist government in Gibraltar grab a tanker sporting Iranian oil, on account of proof it used to be heading to Syria in breach of EU sanctions
  • 9 July: The UK raises the risk to British transport in Iranian waters within the Gulf to “critical”
  • 10 July: A Royal Navy send warns off Iranian boats making an attempt to hinder a British oil tanker within the area
  • 19 July: British-flagged oil tanker Stena Impero is seized by way of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard
  • 28 July: The Royal Navy sends a 2d warship to the Gulf to offer protection to British ships

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