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MSC Aries violated maritime law, says Iran

Vessel being held off Iranian coast in the Strait of Hormuz

A government spokesperson claimed the containership failed to respond to calls from officials before it was boarded by Iranian troops

IRANIAN authorities have claimed that its Revolutionary Guard seized containership MSC Aries (IMO: 9857169) for “violating maritime laws”.

State-controlled Islamic Republic News Agency said members of Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps’ Special Naval Force boarded the vessel on April 13, which is owned by Gortal Shipping as financier (an affiliate of UK-based Zodiac Maritime) and operated by Mediterranean Shipping Company.  

“Iran strives to create a safe shipping environment in the Strait of Hormuz and the Middle East Gulf,” Iranian foreign ministry spokesperson Nasser Kanaani told a briefing.

“The vessel was diverted into Iran’s territorial waters as a result of violating maritime laws and not answering calls made by Iranian authorities,” Kanaani said. 

Kanaani also confirmed there was “no doubt the vessel was linked to Israel”. Zodiac Maritime is led by Israel-born Eyal Ofer. The seizure took place just hours before Iran’s retaliatory strike on Israel at the weekend.

Lloyd’s List data shows MSC Aries stationary just off the coast of Qeshm Island, Iran, in the Strait of Hormuz.



International Transport Workers’ Federation general-secretary Stephen Cotton told Reuters that “innocent seafarers must be protected from escalating conflicts they have no role in instigating, nor power to resolve”.

MSC said it was working with “the relevant authorities” to secure the release of the ship and its 25 crew.

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