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Iran releases Maersk container ship seized over legal dispute

Iran has released a seized container ship, according to the country's official news agency. The ship's operator and manager confirmed the reports after exiting Iran's waters, adding the crew "are in good condition."

The Iranian government set free a cargo ship hailing from the Marshal Islands, the state-run Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA) reported on Thursday.

Iran's official news agency reported that the MV Maersk Tigris has been released along with its 24-member crew.

The vessel's operator and manager confirmed the report.

"Rickmers Group is pleased to report today its managed container vessel Maersk Tigris with 23 crew members on board has been officially released by Iranian authorities following an order from the court in Bandar Abbas, Iran," the operator and manager said in a statement.

"All crew are in good condition. The news has been conveyed to the families of the seafarers."

Seized over legal dispute

Iranian patrol seized the container ship on April 28 after firing warning shots on its bridge. It was reportedly intercepted due to a legal dispute between Danish shipping company Maersk Line, which had chartered the container ship, and a private Iranian company.

Maersk Line owed the Iranian company approximately $10 million (8.8 million euros) due to losses inflicted by the Danish company, the IRNA reported.

The incident triggered security concerns prompting the US to send vessels to the Strait of Hormuz to accompany American-flagged commercial vessels passing through the channel.

However, the US Navy stopped its operations on Tuesday save for "routine maritime security operations," Pentagon spokesman Colonel Steve Warren said.

ls/kms (AFP, AP, Reuters)

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