Decision imminent over seized supertanker off Gibraltar

2019 was the year that saw some interesting goings on when it came to shipping, in particular the shipping of oil and the tankers it is shipped in around the globe. The global trade and transportation of oil has for many decades been at the forefront of Middle Eastern brinkmanship as has control of the sea lanes that this valuable resource travels along.

In the middle of the year saw attempted sabotage, and hijackings of quite a few oil tankers with Iran downing a US Drone that it said had violated its airspace. The UK became embroiled in this when Royal Marines were sent to board and take control of a supertanker called Grace 1 as she sailed past the British overseas territory of Gibraltar. The UK had information that she was full of Iranian oil and was headed to Syria in breach of international sanctions. Shortly afterwards, in retaliation, Iran boarded a UK registered vessel in a similar fashion near the straights of Hormuz as a show of strength and held the ship and crew for a number of weeks. This became a political standoff between the UK and Iran.

Our Middle East Correspondent Tom Bateman managed, remarkably, to get in direct contact with the Captain of the Grace 1 and he found out that he and the ships crew (mostly Indian nationals) were being housed in a hotel on Gibraltar and weren’t allowed to leave the territory until court proceedings had concluded. He was tasked to go to Gibraltar with myself and our Istanbul producer Zeynep Erdim to cover the story from there.

Kit Used: Canon C300mkii, Sony PXW-Z90, Mavic Pro Drone.