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Iran’s Shocking Seizure of MSC Aries Rocks Strait of Hormuz

The latest incident in the long-running Middle East crisis occurred this past weekend and involved major shipper MSC and threatens to escalate shipping issues.

Iran’s foreign ministry stated on Monday that they seized the MSC Aries, a Portuguese-flagged container ship, on April 13th for breaking maritime laws. They also claimed the vessel was linked to Israel.

MSC, a significant and global leading shipping company, reported on Saturday that the MSC Aries, registered in Portugal, was boarded by Iranian authorities via helicopter while traversing the Strait of Hormuz.

Iran says the incident was in response to an earlier Israeli attack.

Iran’s Revolutionary Guards captured the cargo ship in the Strait of Hormuz shortly after Tehran promised to respond to a suspected Israeli attack on its consulate in Damascus on April 1st. Iran had threatened to shut down the vital shipping passage.

The ship entered Iran’s waters because it broke maritime rules and ignored calls from Iranian authorities, spokesperson Nasser Kanaani explained.

A video posted by Iranian state media depicted a military helicopter hovering over what seemed to be the back of the ship, with at least two soldiers descending onto the deck via a rope. Iran’s state-owned IRNA news agency stated that a Guards helicopter boarded the MSC Aries and brought it into Iranian waters.

MSC, the company that runs the Aries, confirmed Iran’s seizure of the ship. They mentioned they are collaborating with the relevant authorities to ensure the safe return of the vessel and the welfare of its 25 crew members.

Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz labeled Iran’s actions as piracy in response to reports of the seizure.

Recent assaults on commercial ships in the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden by Yemen’s Houthis, who are aligned with Iran, have disrupted the global maritime transport network. This has impacted trade and port operations in the Gulf and the Gulf of Oman regions.


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