The reaction of the Iranian government to the boarding of the Grace 1 off Gibraltar has been swift and direct reciprocal action has been threatened against “British” ships. Whether that is British flagged as opposed to British managed or operated ships, is unclear. But in the light of the recent attacks on tankers in the Straits of Hormuz and off Fujairah by Iranian forces that threat must be taken seriously. At the moment the threat is conditional on release but recent action in the U.S. Courts to seize a vessel involved in alleged sanction busting trades may yet see the Grace 1 subject to forfeiture action in the U.S. This latest case has parallels with the U.S. backed detention of the North Korean vessel the Wise Honest in May 2019 in Indonesia which saw the first seizure of a vessel under the U.S. civil asset forfeiture procedure more normally aimed at financial assets.

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