The Maersk Tigris was released Thursday, more than a week after the ship was seized by Iran in the Strait of Hormuz, according to a statement from the shipping company.
The cargo vessel was transiting the Strait of Hormuz on April 28 when Iranian military vessels fired warning shots at the ship and directed it to proceed into Iranian waters. The ship and crew has been held ever since over a business dispute with Maersk Line.
“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. We will continue our dialogue with the aim to fully resolve the cargo case,” Maersk Line said in a statement.
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey said that the way the Iranians’ use of force to divert the ship was a violation of international law. But he said he believed the incident stemmed from the business dispute, not as retaliation for a U.S. aircraft carrier disrupting an Iranian shipment to Houthi rebels in Yemen.
“Whether we believe it was a tit for tat for turning their weapons convoy around through the deterrent value that the carrier provided, I don’t think so,” Gen. Dempsey told reporters during a briefing at the Pentagon. “As you know, the government of Iran stated that it was to resolve a long-standing financial dispute. There was reason to believe that was true.”
The ship is now on its way to Jebel Ali, United Arab Emirates, the statement said.
U.S. military vessels began accompanying U.S. and British-flagged shipping vessels through the strait last Thursday. The Pentagon said Wednesday that the Navy had stopped accompanying ships the day before, The Associated Press reported.
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