The Grace One was in British Gibraltar Territorial Waters at a point two miles off the Eastside of Gibraltar when it was seized. The action taken by the Government of Gibraltar was entirely lawful in line with both EU and Gibraltarian law. Action was taken as the oil was believed to be travelling to an entity that is subject to EU sanctions under EU regulation 36/2012.
Article 14(2) of Council Regulation (EU) No 36/2012 provides that no funds or economic resources shall be made available, directly or indirectly, to or for the benefit of persons designated under the EU Syria sanctions regime. The definition of ˜economic resources" at Article 1(f) of the Regulation encompasses assets of every kind, including oil. The Government of Gibraltar had reasonable grounds to suspect that the Grace One intended to supply oil to Baniyas Refinery Company in Syria, which has been designated by the EU since 23 July 2014.