Update: Maersk Line Urges for Release of Maersk Tigris and Its Crew

Container shipping arm of Danish Maersk Group, Maersk Line, is insisting that Maersk Tigris and its crew are released as soon as possible.

Around 24 people are reported to be aboard the Marshall Islands-flagged containership that was intercepted in the Strait of Hormuz on Tuesday by Iranian patrol boats.

“We take comfort in the knowledge that – according to the latest update from Rickmers Shipmanagement – the crew of Maersk Tigris remains safe and in good spirits. We must insist that the crew and vessel are released as soon as possible. The crew is not employed by Maersk Line, nor is the vessel owned by Maersk Line.

Maersk Tigris and its crew are thus not in any way party to the case, which presumably is the reason behind the seizure of Maersk Tigris,” Maersk Line said in an emailed statement.

The company said that following a meeting yesterday, 29 April, with the with the Ports & Maritime Organization in Iran and based on media statements made by Iranian officials, the seizure of Maersk Tigris is related to a cargo case from 2005.

“We have however not received any written or formal confirmation that the seizure and the cargo case are connected,” the statement said.

In early January 2005, (10) containers arrived in Dubai (UAE), which Maersk Line had transported on behalf of an Iranian company. The containers were never collected by the consignee or any other party. After 90 days and in accordance with UAE law, the cargo was disposed of by UAE authorities, the company explained.

The Iranian company subsequently accused Maersk Line of default before the Tehran Revolutionary Prosecutor’s Office and claimed recovery of USD 4 million as the value of the cargo.

“We challenged the suit successfully and in 2007 the case was dismissed. The Iranian company sought to try the case in other Iranian district courts, which was lastly rejected in 2009. Hereafter the Iranian company initiated civil proceedings against Maersk Line at the Tehran Public Civil Court. On 18 February 2015, after 4 years of proceedings, the appeal court of Tehran ordered Maersk Line to pay the Iranian company USD 163,000. We have accepted the ruling and are willing to pay in accordance with same,” Maersk Line went on to say.

As informed, the Iranian company appealed the case seeking a higher compensation (the amount of today’s cargo value).

“Only today, 30 April, have we learnt that the appeal court has ruled Maersk Line to pay USD 3.6 million. As we do not have the details of the ruling, we are not able to comment hereon, nor at this point speculate on our options,” the statement reveals.+

Based on Marine traffic’s latest vessel tracking data, the 2014-built Maersk Tigris is at anchor in the Persian Gulf, around 7 nautical miles off Bandar Abbas.

Maersk Tigris is a time-charter (T/C) vessel managed and crewed by Rickmers Shipmanagement,  “on-hire” with Maersk Line and deployed in Maersk Line’s ME3 service (Black Sea – Persian Gulf).

World Maritime News Staff; Image: Iran’s Ports & Maritime Organization

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