July 17, 2019 / 8:06 PM / 5 months ago

UPDATE 1-UK PM May pays tribute to Gibraltar's efforts in detaining Grace 1 tanker

(Recasts with details from British PM’s office)

LONDON, July 17 (Reuters) - British Prime Minister Theresa May thanked Gibraltar’s Chief Minister for upholding European Union sanctions against Syria by detaining an oil tanker, her office said on Wednesday, adding its independent legal process should be respected.

The Iranian tanker was seized earlier this month by British Royal Marines off the coast of the British Mediterranean territory of Gibraltar on suspicion of violating sanctions against Syria.

Iran has vowed to respond to what it calls Britain’s “piracy” over the seizure of the tanker.

“The Prime Minister and Chief Minister... discussed the latest developments in the Gibraltarian legal case on the detained oil tanker Grace I,” a spokesman for May’s office said after talks with Fabian Picardo.

“The Prime Minister stressed the importance of Gibraltar’s independent legal process being followed and paid tribute to their efforts to implement EU Syria sanctions.” (Reporting by Alistair Smout; editing by Stephen Addison)

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