Israeli activists take legal action against arrested Iranian tanker
AN ISRAELI non-governmental organisation is seeking an injunction to block the return of the Iranian oil tanker Grace 1 seized by Royal Marines off Gibraltar on July 4
AN ISRAELI non-governmental organisation is seeking an injunction to block the return of the Iranian oil tanker Grace 1 seized by Royal Marines off Gibraltar on July 4.
The very large crude carrier was arrested by Royal Marines acting with the Gibraltar government to enforce European Union sanctions on Syria, where it was believed the cargo of crude oil was destined.
A court order allows for the vessel to be detained until July 19. Police in Gibraltar have arrested four senior crewmembers, including the captain, in connection with the investigation.
Shurat HaDin, a group that pursues compensation on behalf of Israeli victims of terrorism, is seeking to enforce existing US judgments against the government of Iran, which it believes to be the beneficial owner of both the vessel and its consignment of crude, reported London's Lloyd's List.
Shipping lawyers have said the US may have a case for the forfeiture of Grace 1, based on the precedent provided by in the case of Wise Honest, a North Korean bulk carrier which was initially detained by the Indonesian authorities in May 2018 on port state control grounds, but was later handed over to the US.
Shurat HaDin has retained London barrister Jonathan Goldberg and a petition is expected to be filed in the Supreme Court of Gibraltar.
Mr Goldberg told Lloyd's List that the grounds for the action were not any claim against the vessel or its owners, but the satisfaction of several US judgments in favour of victims of Iranian-sponsored terrorism.
'It is a judgment against the government of Iran, and it would appear that the government of Iran own at least the cargo,' he said.
The UK government has said it is prepared to facilitate the release of Grace 1 if Tehran can guarantee the vessel and its cargo will not head to Syria.