Four of 24 Indians on seized Iranian tanker face prosecution

Wednesday 07th August 2019 07:00 EDT

Gibraltar: Four of the 24 Indians on seized Iranian oil tanker in Gibraltar will face prosecution, officials privy to the case said. The accused have been charged of violating European Union sanctions and will have to undergo a judicial process for obtaining bail. The tanker, identified as Grace 1, was apprehended by the United Kingdom's Royal Marines on July 4. The ship was charged of violating the EU sanctions by attempting to supply oil for a refinery based in Syria.

The remaining 20 crew members are expected to be repatriated soon, said the Mumbai-based company which had placed them for a maritime job on the Iranian vessel. The Gibraltar authorities have claimed that the vessel is loaded to capacity with crude oil en route to Syria, in breach of the European Union (EU) sanctions and confirmed that the next hearing in the case is scheduled for August 15.

"Three consular officials had meetings with the crew on the high seas. They are safe and well and remain in contact with their families,” the Indian High Commission said in a statement in London. "Further meetings are planned with Gibraltar officials. All help will be extended to the Indian nationals,” the statement noted.

According to reports from India, the total number of Indians aboard the vessel are 24. Royal Gibraltar Police (RGP) had earlier said that the senior crew members who were arrested and questioned had been bailed as the investigation continues. The Gibraltar government confirmed that β€œon an application by the Attorney General, the Supreme 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.”

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