Iran has released a cargo ship it seized last week, the country’s Foreign Ministry said Thursday.
Iranian forces intercepted the Marshall Islands-flagged Maersk Tigris on April 28 as it was sailing through the Strait of Hormuz, a key strategic waterway at the mouth of the Persian Gulf.
The seizure, along with the harassment of a U.S.-flagged container ship days earlier, prompted the United States to send Navy warships to escort U.S.- and British-flagged commercial cargo vessels through the strait for several days.
Iranian authorities insisted the seizure of the Maersk Tigris was related to a commercial legal dispute and had nothing to do with political or security considerations.
Shipping company hasn’t confirmed release
Iranian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Marzieh Afkham told CNN on Thursday that the cargo ship had been released but declined to provide further details.
A representative for Maersk in Copenhagen, Denmark, was unable to immediately confirm whether the ship had been released.
The company managing the Maersk Tigris, Rickmers Shipmanagement, said in a statement last week that the legal dispute apparently dates from 2005, when a separate Maersk Line vessel delivered a shipment to Dubai that was later disposed of when no one collected the containers.
Rickmers said that 24 people — none of them American — were on board the Maersk Tigris.
Iranian state media reported that the ship was impounded at Bahonar Port in southern Iran.