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Edited by Falcon
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(edited)

12 hours ago, Falcon said:

Looks like the Grace 1 is an unregistered or what is known as a stateless vessel.  Therefore has no protection under U.N. Conventions of the Laws of the Sea (UNCLOS). The ship was in England's territory in Gibraltar.  

As such unregistered vessels are not afforded the protection of international Laws of the seas. Therefore are subject to the territorial jurisdiction of the authority at the scene.  

England's Navy was exercising their "Rights of Approach" . . . . . their right to investigate a ships  Flag.

Now this is a very interesting development.  

In my (admittedly untutored) view there are at least two ways that a ship can end up unregistered, thus without a national flag.  One is where the registering authority removes registration.  This could conceivably result from a failed inspection, where the ship is declared unseaworthy;  the owners are found to be habitual offenders as to registration and seaworthiness requirements.  Another would be where the nation itself dissolves, by internal revolution or war.  Registrations in Cyprus would get entangled in this.  Yet another is where the owners simply do not re-register, pay the fees, or otherwise end up outside the system. 

So the interesting question results, if the de-registration or revoked registration is the result of some external event or act that is beyond the control of the shipowner, then what allowances are made if the ship is out on the high seas  (which is likely the case).  I would argue that the requirement of safety at sea, under SOLAS or otherwise, would mandate that the ship continue its transit to destination or secure port where it can "sit" unmolested until the owners can sort it out.  In this case it appears that the owners ignored the problem and loaded the vessel, and departed port, knowing that the ship had been de-registered.  That puts the owners in a bad light. 

My guess is that the ship sits at Gibraltar until someone shows up with new registration papers.  What happens to the cargo is yet another matter. A bandit cargo on a black-flag ship.  Not a good start, that's for  sure. 

Edited by Jan van Eck
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Edited by Falcon
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Piecing together some information, it seems that Grace 1 was de-registered by Panama on 29th May, and subseqiently seized by UK on 4th July.

Which would tally with @Falcon's musings above.

 

Panama Revoked Seized Iranian Tanker License over Terrorism-Related Accusations

The Iranian oil tanker "Grace 1" seized by the British Royal Marines in Gibraltar, is no longer registered in its international ship record since May 29th, Panama Maritime Authority said Thursday July 4th, according to Reuters.

The authority said it had lifted Grace 1 from its records after a warning that the ship had been involved in or associated with terrorist funding. Although the tanker is flying the flag of Panama, Iran has declared its ownership of the vessel, objecting to its detention.

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Gibraltar Police Say Four Crew Of Seized Iranian Tanker Freed On Bail

... British Royal Marines on July 4 boarded the Grace 1 off the coast of Gibraltar and seized it over suspicions it was breaking sanctions by taking oil to Syria. ...

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(edited)

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Edited by Falcon

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What is interesting about this tale is that there do not appear to be any Iranian nationals on board that ship.   There were 28 crew, and that consisted of nationals from India,  Pakistan, and Ukraine.  It would not surprise me if the Captain and Second Mates were all from Ukraine.  Presumably that is why there was no resistance:  these guys had no ideology, they were just employees - although of whom, is not clear.  This case continues to get murkier and murkier. 

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(edited)

Hi

On 7/14/2019 at 10:12 AM, Jan van Eck said:

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Edited by Falcon

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(edited)

On 7/14/2019 at 10:46 AM, Falcon said:

 

Edited by Falcon

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2 minutes ago, Falcon said:

Don't think any merchant sailor just doing his job would resist 40 heavily armed British commandos that are backed up by attack helicopters.

Nope, not those guys.  Time to line up at the rails and salute!  

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