Singapore: Maersk Tigris and its crew of 24 remain under Iranian custody at Shahid Bahonar Port in the Strait of Hormuz this morning, as confusion reigns on the reason for the vessel’s arrest in the first place.
Last night in a statement, Maersk, which is chartering the 5,600 teu ship from Oaktree, said that it was unable to confirm the reason behind the seizure, although it did say authorities have informed the company that the seizure is related to an allegedly unresolved cargo claim. Maersk said that it had not received any notification related to the claim or the seizure of the vessel.
Iranian media today reports that Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Marzieh Afkham has advised the vessel was seized by Iranian navy forces based on a court decision “consistent with international regulations and protocols”. Afkham hoped that the ship could be released soon after “its overdue debt is settled.”
A spokesman for Iran’s Ports and Maritime Organization confirmed that the seizure was based on a court ruling issued on March 16, 2015, where a plaintiff, which Iranian media has named as Pars-Talaeeyeh Oil Products Company, sued Maersk Line over unpaid debts.
Speaking to Splash this morning, Rickmers Shipmanagement spokesperson Cor Radings said that the situation remains unchanged from last night, and that the company is doing everything possible to secure the release of the vessel.
The ship is flagged with the Marshall Islands. “The administrator has established and has been in communication with the deputy permanent representative to Iran at the International Maritime Organization. The administrator has also addressed the head of marine security department at the Ports and Maritime Organization in Tehran,” the registry said in an emailed statement sent to Splash.
While Maersk insists the ship was in an international shipping lane at the time it was confronted by the Iranian navy, the Iranians say the ship had been in Iranian waters.