Maersk Tigris Detained for Purely Commercial Reasons, Plaintiff Claims
The impounding of the Maersk Tigris ship by Iranian authorities is for strictly financial reasons and has nothing to do with politics, the Iranian company seeking damages from Denmark’s Maersk Group has said.
The captain of the container ship is a Bulgarian citizen.
"Unfortunately, some are seeking to exploit the case politically, but the reality is limited only to damages that Maersk has made us suffer," according to Hamid Reza Jahanian, head of the Pars Talayieh Oil Products company, AFP reported.
His words reiterated Iran’s initial position that the country’s Navy boats had seized control of the container ship in the Strait of Hormuz because of a commercial dispute with Denmark's Maersk Group, which chartered the vessel.
Officials said earlier this week US warships protecting US-flagged ships in the Strait of Hormuz may extend assistance to other countries’ vessels in response to the seizure of Maersk Tigris.
AFP reported that according to experts, the expanded US naval presence - which includes guided-missile destroyer Farragut and three coastal patrol vessels – aims to signal to Iran that Washington is ready to safeguard shipping along the vital corridor, even at a moment of delicate negotiations with Tehran over Iran’s nuclear programme.
The State Department has said the US hopes that the problem will be settled by diplomatic means.
Jahanian said the dispute with Maersk dates back to 2003 when Maersk was responsible for the transport of containers sent by Pars Talayieh to the port of Jebel Ali in the United Arab Emirates, but the cargo wasn’t delivered to the customer. Maersk Line, part of Maersk Group, said earlier this week it was informed by Iran’s Ports and Maritime Organization that an Iranian court had ordered it to pay USD 3.6 M (EUR 3.2 M) in compensation in the case. If Maersk Line pays damages to the Iranian company, Jahanian sais, Maersk Tigris will be released, otherwise the vessel or the goods it transports will be put up for auction.
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