04 Mei 2015

[040515.EN.SEA] Maersk Insists Iranian Held Ship Be Freed, US Navy 'Accompanies' US Flags

THE Pentagon has told CBS News that US Naval forces are "accompanying" American ships in the Strait of Hormuz, though little has been done to rescue the Marshall Island-flagged ship detained there by the Iranians even though the US is responsible for that country's defence.

"The US Navy makes a distinction between accompanying ships and escorting them," said the CBS report.

"Officials said the navy won't escort these ships, but will let them know in advance that they will monitor the situation as they transit the narrow Strait from the Gulf toward the Arabian Sea," said the report.

Meanwhile, Denmark's Maersk Line said it has insisted on the release of the 5,466-TEU Maersk Tigris, a vessel and crew seized by Iran, adding it assumed the incident was related to a 2005 court case over uncollected cargo.

The Marshall Islands-flagged ship was seized by Iranian forces in the Strait of Hormuz, spurring the United States to send warship to monitor the situation.

"We have not received any written or formal confirmation that the seizure and the cargo case are connected," the company said in a statement, Reuters reported.

"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."

Maersk, the world's biggest container shipping line, said it had agreed to pay an Iranian company US$163,000 after an Iranian court ruling in February which related to a dispute about 10 container boxes transported to Dubai in 2005.

"The Iranian company appealed the case seeking a higher compensation," Maersk said.

"Only today, have we learnt that the appeal court has ruled Maersk Line to pay $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," said Maersk.

Source : HKSG.

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