Iran claims ship with Israeli ties was seized for ‘violating maritime laws’

This image grab taken from a UGC video posted on social media on April 13, 2024, shows Iran's Revolutionary Guards rappelling down onto a container ship, MSC Aries, near the Strait of Hormuz. (Video screenshot)
This image grab taken from a UGC video posted on social media on April 13, 2024, shows Iran's Revolutionary Guards rappelling down onto a container ship, MSC Aries, near the Strait of Hormuz. (Video screenshot)

A Portuguese-flagged cargo ship, the MSC Aries, was seized by Iran on April 13 for “violating maritime laws,” Iran’s foreign ministry says, adding that there is no doubt the vessel is linked to Israel.

Iran’s Revolutionary Guards seized the freighter in the Strait of Hormuz days after Tehran vowed to retaliate for a suspected Israeli strike on its embassy compound in Damascus on April 1. Iran had said it could close the crucial shipping route.

“Iran strives to create a safe shipping environment in the Strait of Hormuz and the Gulf. The vessel was diverted into Iran’s territorial waters as a result of violating maritime laws and not answering calls made by Iranian authorities,” spokesperson Nasser Kanaani says.

Iran’s state-run IRNA news agency reported that a Guards helicopter boarded the MSC Aries and took it into Iranian waters.

MSC, which operates the Aries, confirmed Iran seized the ship and said it was working “with the relevant authorities” for its safe return and the wellbeing of its 25 crew.

MSC leases the Aries from Gortal Shipping, an affiliate of Zodiac Maritime, Zodiac said in a statement, adding that MSC is responsible for all the vessel’s activities. Zodiac is partly owned by Israeli businessman Eyal Ofer.

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