Rickmers Shipmanagement has confirmed that Maersk Tigris has been released by Iranian authorities and is now en route to Jebel Ali.
The vessel and its crew were release after Maersk Line, which chartered in the Marshall Islands-flagged vessel, put up a security in relation to the underlying long-running commercial dispute with an Iranian customer.
Unconfirmed reports of the vessel’s release began to emerge on Wednesday, but Rickmers and Maersk Line only confirmed this on Thursday. Maersk Tigris’s AIS transponder shows it under way making 18 kts towards Jebel Ali, according to data from Lloyd’s List Intelligence.
A statement from Rickmers said: “Maersk Tigris will continue its scheduled voyage to Jebel Ali where representatives of Rickmers and other relevant parties will attend the crew and the vessel. We will be talking to the crew members individually and providing support suitable to each person’s wishes and situation.”
The 5,470 teu Maersk Tigris was transiting the Strait of Hormuz in the international traffic separation scheme when it was approached and seized by Iranian patrol boats on April 28.
The seizure of the vessel relates to a cargo dispute dating back to 2005, according to Maersk.
In January 2005, 10 containers were delivered to Dubai by Maersk Line for an Iranian company. Maersk said the containers were not collected by the consignee or any other party and, in accordance with United Arab Emirates laws, the cargo was disposed of after 90 days by local authorities.
“The Iranian company subsequently accused Maersk Line of default before the Tehran Revolutionary Prosecutor’s Office and claimed recovery of $4m as the value of the cargo,” Maersk said. “We challenged the suit successfully and in 2007 the case was dismissed.”
After appeals to other courts Maersk Line was ordered to pay $163,000 in February.
“The release follows a constructive dialogue with the Iranian authorities, including the Ports & Maritime Organization, and the provision of a letter of undertaking in relation to the underlying cargo case,” Maersk said. “We will continue our dialogue with the aim to fully resolve the cargo case.”
Maersk added that it would get its customers’ cargo on board Maersk Tigris underway as soon as possible and would discuss with Rickmers Shipmanagement when the vessel could resume its voyage.
US-based private equity fund Oaktree is the owner of Maersk Tigris, which is on long-term charter to Maersk.
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