Oil supertanker bound for Syria detained in Gibraltar

British royal marines and officials in Gibraltar have detained a supertanker suspected of carrying crude oil to Syria, in breach of European Union sanctions, the government of Gibraltar said.

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LONDON, July 4 (Reuters) - British royal marines and officials in Gibraltar have detained a supertanker suspected of carrying crude oil to Syria, in breach of European Union sanctions, the government of Gibraltar said.

In a statement the government said it had reasonable grounds to believe that the Grace 1 vessel was carrying its shipment of crude oil to the Banyas Refinery in Syria.

"That refinery is the property of an entity that is subject to European Union sanctions against Syria," Gibraltar's Chief Minister Fabian Picardo said.

"With my consent, our Port and Law Enforcement agencies sought the assistance of the Royal Marines in carrying out this operation."

The government published regulations on Wednesday to enforce the sanctions against the vessel and its cargo.

(Reporting by Kate Holton; editing by David Evans)

((kate.holton@thomsonreuters.com; 0044 207 542 8560; Reuters Messaging: kate.holton.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net))

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