‘We are safe’, confirms Ajmal who is on-board Iranian ship seized by UK
Wandoor (Malappuram): Ajmal, a Wandoor native is on-board the Iranian oil tanker seized by British Royal Marines in Gibraltar. Grace 1 was seized by Britain on July 4 because it was heading to Syria in breach of EU sanctions.
When contacted over phone, Ajmal said everyone on-board is safe.
“On May 13, our ship belonging to the supertanker category had started its journey from Fujairah carrying 3 lakh ton crude oil. After travelling 25 countries for 18,000 kilometers, on July 4 we reached Gibraltar, a British Overseas Territory and headland on Spain's south coast at around 1.30 am to take food materials.
“On that day, I was on duty from 12 am to 4 am. When contacted the traffic station, they asked us to maintain zero speed and said their boat is approaching us. The Britain border is at 3 nautical mile distance from here. Then we were asked to move two nautical miles inside. When we reached there, it was similar to a war zone,” Ajmal unveiled the happenings of the day.
“Around 20 commandos, fully equipped, dropped down ropes on to the ship from two helicopters. Apart from them, two helicopters stood on either sides of their warship. The control of our ship, which has 28 crew members, was completely taken over by them. They alleged that we were carrying oil to Syria in breach of EU sanctions”.
The British commandos took our passports, phones and laptops into custody. Later, they returned the phone. They are very courteous and we expect they will release us after normal inspections and procedures, he said.
Ajmal also said they are able to contact family and friends and Iranian diplomats had arrived.