Iran Releases Marshall Islands Cargo Ship Seized in Strait of Hormuz

The seizure had heightened tensions in the region.

The ship's seizure on April 28 had raised tensions in the region after Iranian patrol boats fired across the ship's bow to order it into Iranian waters. Iranian officials later claimed that the ship was seized because the Maersk Line had not paid a settlement in a long-standing court ruling.

In the wake of the seizure, the U.S. Navy offered to "accompany" U.S. and British-flagged merchant vessels as they transited through the Strait of Hormuz.

"Rickmers Group is pleased to report today its managed container vessel Maersk Tigris with 24 crewmembers on board has been officially released by Iranian authorities following an order from the court in Bandar Abbas, Iran," said a statement released by the ship's operator. "Earlier Maersk Line put up a security in relation to the underlying court case. All crew are in a good condition. The news has been conveyed to the families of the seafarers."

"The management of Rickmers Group and everyone in the company are delighted that the vessel is no longer held under Iranian control and its valued seafarers are able to resume their normal life and continue their voyage."

Maersk Line, which charters the ship from Rickmers Group, said 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."

The Iranian patrol boats had fired warning shots across the ship's bow when the ship's master initially refused an order to enter deeper into Iranian waters.

Members of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps Navy boarded the vessel and too it to waters near the Iranian port of Bandar Abbas.

In response, the U.S. Navy's Fifth Fleet sent the destroyer USS Farragut and three coastal patrol boats through the Strait of Hormuz to demonstrate that the vital international shipping lane remained open.

It is unclear how many American flagged merchant vessels were accompanied by the ships as they transited through the Strait, a defense official said no British vessels were accompanied during transits.