MAERSK: Seizure of Tigris by Iran unjustified
Shipping giant Maersk Line says it still has not received any written documentation from Iranian authorities, a week after its container vessel Maersk Tigris was seized by the Iranian Navy while transiting the Strait of Hormuz into the Arabian Gulf, bound for the United Arab Emirates.
Tigris was seized by Iran in international waters, Maersk Line claims. The incident has shocked the international shipping community and prompted the US Navy to begin accompanying allied vessels through the Strait of Hormuz.
Iran claims that the ship and her crew were detained due to a court ruling in favour of an Iranian freight forwarder dating from ten years ago, but Maersk says it is yet to receive any court rulings, arrest orders or similar documents that could be the foundation for the detainment of Maersk Tigris.
The line also insists that until the ship was fired at by Iranian naval vessels and boarded in the Strait of Hormuz, it had received no notification of any court ruling.
The line is reportedly required to pay US $3.6-million to an Iranian firm and Iranian media reports suggest the ship will be sold if the money is not paid.
Maersk Tigris is chartered by German Rickmers Shipmanagement, which has stated that the crew on board is doing well and is in good spirits.
There has been a flurry of high-level meetings since the seizure of the ship. On Sunday, representatives from Maersk Line met again with Ports & Maritime Organization (PMO) in Iran, while the Danish ambassador is due to meet with PMO Tuesday for the second time.
This comes after the Danish ambassador yesterday held talks with the Iranian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Maersk Line has pointed out that Iran’s ongoing holding of the vessel is illegal as the ship is not owned by Maersk and its crew are not employed by the company, but by Rickmers Shipmanagement.
"The seizure is unjustified and we insist that the crew and vessel be released as soon as possible," the shipping line said in a statement Tuesday. "Maersk Tigris and its crew are not in any way party to the cargo case, which allegedly is the reason behind the seizure of Maersk Tigris.”
"We will continue to do everything we can to resolve this matter," the shipping line added.