Important news added on 30th April 2015 !
إيران تختطف سفينة أميركية وتقودها إلى ميناء "بندر عباس"ـ
Iran holds up U.S. ship and guides it to Bandar Abbas seaport.
احتجزت قوة إيرانية سفينة شحن أميركية، على متنها 24 بحارا من شرق أوروبا وآسيا، واقتادتها إلى ميناء بندر عباس الإيراني، اليوم الثلاثاء.ـ
On Tuesday [i.e. 28th April], Iranian forces held up a U.S. cargo ship with 24 sailors from Eastern Europe and Asia on board and guided it to the Iranian seaport of Bandar Abbas.
ومن جانبه، أكد متحدث باسم وزارة الدفاع الأميركية "البنتاغون" أن قوات ايرانية اعتلت السفينة "مايرسك تيغريس"، التابعة لشركة مايرسك، والتي ترفع علم جزر المارشال في الخليج.ـ
On behalf of the U.S. defence ministry "Pentagon" a spokesman confirmed that Iranian forces seized the ship "Maersk Tigris" which belongs to the company Maersk and is registered in the Marshall Islands.
[Source: Al-Arabiya العربية on 28th April 2015]
Name: MAERSK TIGRIS
Type: Container Ship
Gross Tonnage: 52600 t
Deadweight: 62292 t
Flag: MARSHALL ISLANDS
Anchored in Bandar Abbas
since 28th April 2015, 19:35.
According to other sources, the MV Maersk Tigris has been stopped by Iranian forces belonging to the Revolutionary Guards without any obvious reason known so far. The Marshall Islands where the ship has been registered is connected with the United States by some association treaty that leaves all military defense of the island nation to the U.S.. That's why the nearby cruising destroyer USS Farragut has been ordered by the Pentagon to observe the situation.
Washington Examiner on 28th April 2015 (local date!):
Iran's seizure of the Maersk Tigris is the second time in a week it has harassed transiting vessels under U.S. protection in the Strait of Hormuz.
A senior defense official at the Pentagon said that on Friday, the Maersk Kensington, a U.S.-flagged cargo vessel, was intercepted by four Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps Navy patrol craft.
"In the incident, the [Iranian] patrol craft at one point encircled the Maersk Kensington, and eventually followed the ship as it continued on its course. The [Iranian] units eventually withdrew from the area," the official said.
Iran's harassment of ships in the Strait follows its attempt last week to send a convoy of vessels to Yemen, which was eventually turned away after the arrival of the U.S. aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt.
Fars News Agency FNA, Tehran on Wednesday 29th April 2015:
After informed sources told FNA last night that "the ship ... has been seized by Iranian naval forces at the request of Iran's Ports and Maritime Organization IPMO", IPMO deputy chief Hadi Haqshenas explained in his today remarks that Maersk Tigris has been engaged in payment disputes with the Iranian "Pars Tala'eyeh Oil Products Company" for several years.
He said the Iranian company had "started litigation in recent years to sue Maersk Line Shipping Co.", adding that "after the court of appeal upheld the initial court ruling in favor of the Iranian company, ordering Maersk Line Shipping Co. to make up for the financial losses of the plaintiff, the decree was sent to Iran's Ports and Maritime Organization - which is in charge of maritime affairs according to international laws and regulations - on March 15, 2015 to be put into effect".
"The IPMO then requested the operational forces to put the court ruling in action," Haqshenas continued.
Haqshenas's statements were later today repeated in an official statement of the IPMO, where the organization underscored that the seizure was "purely the result of a legal case and not a military development in nature".
The statement also added that all the moves made with regard to the vessel, including the court proceedings and ruling, "fully comply with the international laws and maritime rules and regulations".
"Given the legal nature of the case and considering that the responsibility for the seized vessel falls under the judicial authority now, its release will only be possible through a judicial decree," it stressed.
The IPMO statement also reiterated that Maersk Co. has been fully briefed about the detailed measures adopted with regard to the vessel and the crew since its seizure in the Strait of Hormuz yesterday.
Later today, Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Marziyeh Afkham also made similar remarks, stressing the legal nature of the seizure.
She also underlined that the crew are "fully sound and healthy" and "have been provided with full consular access".
Iranian sources had earlier stated that the crew members were from Britain, Bulgaria, Romania and Myanmar.
International law recognizes Iran that has the lengthiest coastline (more than 2,000km) on the rims of the Persian Gulf as to be in charge of security in the Persian Gulf and the Strait of Hormuz.
In Iran, the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) Navy is responsible for protecting security of territorial waters in the Persian Gulf, while the naval forces of the regular army are in charge of security in the Caspian Sea as well as missions in the high seas.