US, UK demand immediate release of MSC ship seized by Iran

US, UK demand immediate release of MSC ship seized by Iran


The US and UK have called for the immediate release of the container ship MSC Aries seized by Iran.

Iranian Revolutionary Guards took control of the MSC chartered vessel in the Straits of Hormuz on Saturday. The ship was targeted for its Israeli links and is owned by Gortal Shipping, a finance company associated with Zodiac Maritime, controlled by Israeli billionaire Eyal Ofer.

“The seizure of the cargo ship MSC Aries by Iran is unacceptable and a blatant violation of international law. We call for the unconditional release of the ship and its crew without delay.

“We are working with partners to prevent escalation in the Middle East. Iran must cease their destabilising behaviour immediately,” UK Secretary of Defence Grant Shapps posted on social media platform X.

The seizure of the 15,000 TEU MSC Aries came hours before Iran launched dozens of drones and missiles at Israel in retaliation for an attack on the Iranian consulate in Syria on 1st April that killed seven revolutionary guards.

Also posting on X, White House National Security Council spokesperson, Adrienne Watson described the vessel seizure as an act of piracy by Iran and a “blatant violation of international law”.

“We strongly condemn the Iranian seizure of the Portuguese flagged, British-owned MSC Aries in international waters. The crew is comprised of Indian, Filipino, Pakistani, Russian & Estonian nationals. We call on Iran to release the vessel & its international crew immediately,” Watson stated.

The seizure of MSC Aries and the escalating tension in the Middle East could see further disruption to shipping. The industry has already faced over six months of attacks in the southern Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden from Houthi militia in Yemen resulting in the widescale rerouting of vessels via the Cape of Good Hope.

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