The Indian captain of an Iranian ship that was seized by Royal Marines earlier this month has said that the British soldiers used "brute force" when they detained his ship, according to a media report on Tuesday. The captain, an Indian national who wished to remain anonymous told the BBC that British soldiers forced his unarmed crew to kneel on the deck at gunpoint after landing on the ship in a helicopter.
He said he was radioed a police request to board his ship and lowered his ladder. But before anyone could board, a military helicopter landed on the ship in a “very dangerous” move.
He told the BBC that he identified himself as the captain but the marines ignored him and instead pointed their guns and shouted “look forward, look forward”.
“There was no regulations, we had 28 unarmed crew. I was in a state of shock, everybody was in a state of shock,” he was quoted as saying.
“How do you come on a ship like this with armed forces and such brute force. For what reason?” he said.
The captain said the marines could have boarded the ship and simply told him he had been arrested.
Asked whether he felt there was anything illegitimate about his ship or the cargo, he said he had “followed company procedures” and he did not know about the EU sanctions against Syria.
Earlier, the Indian High Commission in London had said Indian crew members detained in connection with an investigation into an Iranian oil supertanker seized by Royal Gibraltar Police are “safe and well’ and in contact with consular officials on the vessel.
The Gibraltar authorities claimed that the vessel is loaded to capacity with crude oil enroute to Syria, in breach of the European Union (EU) sanctions and confirmed that the next hearing in the case is scheduled for August 15.
A Gibraltar government statement reads: “The detention of the vessel relates to the suspected destination of the cargo, the Banyas refinery in Syria, which is owned by a company, the Banyas Oil Refinery Company. This company is the subject of European Union sanctions under EU Regulation 36/2012, which is directly applicable in Gibraltar,”