The Telegraph reports:
The vessel had apparently declined to change course and steer towards the Iranian coast. Warning shots were then fired across the bridge and the ship was boarded by personnel from the naval wing of the Revolutionary Guard Corps and steered towards the Iranian port of Bandar Abbas.
The container ship was travelling from Jeddah in Saudi Arabia to the port of Jebel Ali in Dubai. It was flying the flag of the Marshall Islands and chartered by Rickmers Ship Management, a company based in Hamburg. The vessel is owned by Maersk, the Danish shipping and trading conglomerate.
…Fars, the semi-official Iranian news agency, described the ship as a “trade vessel” which had been “seized by the Iranian navy” at the request of the country’s Ports and Maritime Authority.
Fars added: “The ship was seized after a relevant court order was issued for its confiscation.” No further explanation for Iran’s actions was offered.
The idea of simply seizing the ship and the innocent people aboard the ship does not seem like the appropriate response to the court action.
Meanwhile, Yahoo News reports:
Iran’s foreign minister told a New York City audience on Wednesday that Tehran respects freedom of navigation in the Gulf, a day after Iranian patrol boats seized a Danish container ship in one of the world’s busiest oil shipping lanes.
“The Persian Gulf is our lifeline … We will respect international navigation,” Foreign Minister Javad Zarif said during a discussion hosted by New York University’s Center on International Cooperation and the think tank New America. “For us, freedom of navigation in the Persian Gulf is a must.”
This doesn’t sound like freedom of navigation.
Yahoo News reports:
Maersk said in a statement that it was in communication with the Danish Foreign Ministry and trying to ascertain why the Maersk Tigris had been diverted.
Iran’s Ports and Maritime Organization said a court had ordered the ship seized after ruling against Maersk Line in a case about debts brought by Pars Talaie, an Iranian company.
Zarif told the audience on Wednesday that Maersk was required to pay damages on the basis of a court order. He said the legal proceedings had been going on for some 14 years.
“Simply, our naval forces implemented the decision of the court,” Zarif said in New York, characterizing Maersk’s actions as “peculiar.”
Tasnim, an Iranian news agency, quoted a Pars Talaie lawyer as saying the debt involved a cargo that Pars Talaie had hired Maersk to take from the Iranian port of Abadan to Dubai more than a decade ago but which never arrived.
This is another example of what happens when America has a weak President. There were American warships in the area, but Iran had no reason to fear them. This is also an example of the lawlessness of Iran.