Both Maersk Line and Rickmers Shipmanagement confirm on Thursday that container vessel Maersk Tigris has been released by the Iranian and authorities and is no longer sailing in Iranian waters.
Iran's Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA) reported earlier today that detained container ship Maersk Tigris had been released. Maersk Line and Rickmers Shipmanagent have confirmed the information.
News agency AP reported that Iran was likely prepared to release the seafarers on board the Maersk Tigris within two days, said a spokeswoman from Iran's Ministry of Foreign affairs, though under the condition that Maersk Line pays a fine related to an old case concerning unclaimed cargo.
The freight case dates all the day back to 2005 where Maersk sailed ten containers to Dubai on behalf of an Iranian company. The containers were never collected at the port by any of the parties and local authorities confiscated the cargo after 90 days.
This caused the Iranian company to sue Maersk and on the 18th of February 2015, Maersk was sentenced to pay USD 136,000.
However, this was not good enough for the Iranian company which wanted more money from Maersk. And now it seems that the court may have decided that Maersk must pay USD 3.6 million in damages for the lost cargo back in 2005.
Maersk Line was in contact with the Iranian courts and the PMO again on Wednesday concerning the delicate case.
Maersk Line announced in a brief statement Tuesday that the crew on Maersk Tigris was in good spirits, and that the company was in contact with the Iranian courts. The carrier had at time not yet received any form of written documentation for the surprising detainment of the vessel, including any court rulings, arrest orders or similar documents that could be the foundation for the arrest of Maersk Tigris.
Maersk Tigris' route through the Strait of Hormuz (the green line). Click here for bigger graphic
Maersk Tigris sails under the Marshall Islands flag, an independent republic in the Pacific over which the US holds full security responsible.
Hans Tino Hansen, CEO of Risk Intelligence, pointed to three possible scenarios in relation to the incident, the first of which he described as the most frightening one, though perhaps also the most unlikely.
"That scenario would be if a civil lawsuit is in fact the reason this ship was arrested. Because in that case, all parties with even the slightest ties to business relations in the country could face a potential risk of a similar incident. In this case, one could ask why the Iranians would pick a ship that in fact has nothing to do with Maersk Line beyond the fact that the carrier has chartered it. They could have picked a light blue ship, as they were looking at the week before, but maybe it was because the Maersk Kensington was sailing under US-flag that nothing more came of it," said Hans Tino Hansen in an interview with ShippingWatch.
Find the other two scenarios in the interview here
The crew on Maersk Tigris consists of 25 men primarily from Eastern Europe and Asia as well as one British citizen.