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Maersk vessel to be released after company pays debt: Iran

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
The speedboats of Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) are seen during major drills in the Strait of Hormuz in the Persian Gulf, February 25, 2015.

The Iranian Embassy in Denmark has reportedly said that a cargo ship recently impounded in the Persian Gulf by Iranian Navy forces will be released if the ship’s operator company settles its overdue debts to an Iranian plaintiff.

“Iranian authorities reiterate that there has been absolutely no political or security intentions or considerations behind the incident,” read a statement by the Iranian Embassy on Thursday, AFP reported.

The cargo ship, Maersk Tigris, which was seized on Tuesday in the Strait of Hormuz in the Persian Gulf, had trespassed on Iranian waters carrying the flag of the Marshal Islands, a pacific nation.

A spokesman for Iran’s Ports and Maritime Organization said on Wednesday that the seizure of Maersk Tigris was based on a court ruling issued on March 16, 2015, which reportedly came after a plaintiff sued the Maersk Line, the Danish company operating the ship, over unpaid debts.

“The seizure of the ship was solely an enforcement of a judicial court ruling resulting from a commercial dispute between two private parties,” the statement said, adding, “Naturally the ship will be released after settlement of debts by Maersk Shipping Line and will be allowed to sail to its final destination.”

According to IRNA, the ship’s captain is Bulgarian and the first mate is Russian. Other crewmembers include 13 nationals of Myanmar, four Romanians, one Ukrainian, one British national, two Sri Lankans, and a national of Poland.

The statement added that diplomats can meet the crew “in case of need or request.”

Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Marziyeh Afkham has defended as legal Iran’s decision to impound the ship, which is currently docked at the Bahonar Port near Bandar Abbas in southern Iran.


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