Iran Seizes Maersk Container Ship at Gunpoint
Iran detained a Maersk container ship at gunpoint this week, complicating already delicate international relations.
The ship, the Maersk Tigris, with 24 crew members, was intercepted by Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps patrol boats on Tuesday morning while traveling through the Strait of Hormuz, a Pentagon official said. The Iranian forces fired shots across the ship’s bow, the official said, after its captain declined an order by the forces to divert farther into Iranian waters.
The official said the ship was traveling through “an internationally recognized maritime route.” After being fired on, it issued a distress call, prompting the United States Navy to direct a destroyer, the Farragut, to the area and to put aircraft on standby to monitor the situation.
Maersk has demanded its container ship and crew be released, but Iran refuses to do so until a legal debt is settled.
The Embassy of the Islamic Republic of Iran in Copenhagen said in a release:
The action by Iranian authorities has been based on the laws and regulations of the Islamic Republic of Iran and in accordance with international laws and norms.
Naturally the ship will be released after settlements of debts by Mærsk Shipping Line and will be allowed to sail to its final destination.
While Iran says the taking of the container ship and its crew is in accordance with international laws and norms, Cor Radings, a spokesman for the charter company that owns and operates the Maersk ship “called the episode a ‘very unusual event so far, and something we have not seen before,’ according to a New York Times article.
UPDATE: IRAN HAS RELEASED THE MAERSK TIGRIS WITH ITS 24 CREW MEMBERS IN GOOD CONDITION.
Maersk, the world’s largest container shipping company, had been ordered by an Iranian court to pay $3.6m (3.2m euros) to Pars Oil Products for cargo that allegedly had not been delivered.
Permission for the release of the ship was given after the Iranian authorities received guarantees “for the enforcement of the judicial decision”, the country’s Ports and Shipping Organisation said.
Rickmers said in a statement that Maersk had “put up a security in relation to the underlying court case”.
Continued reading on Iran’s seizure of the Maersk container ship:
Truckers Strike Calls for Government Action
The Truckers Strike at the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach over wage theft through misclassification of drivers as independent contractors continues with mixed results.
The Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach say the strike is not causing an interruption to operations.
Striking truck drivers, in association with Teamsters, are calling for the Mayors of Los Angeles and Long Beach to get involved as they claim the four companies the drivers work for are breaking labor laws at the cities’ ports.
While progress has been reached with some trucking companies regarding driver labor, other drayage companies refuse to listen to their drivers’ demands.
Here’s how some of the drayage and logistic companies have responded to this issue according to Reuters:
One company, Shippers Transport Express, agreed to formally hire its drivers and negotiated a union contract with them last year. Another, Green Fleet Systems, reached a “labor peace agreement” with the Teamsters this week.
But Pacer insisted after losing a misclassification case in January that such claims are without merit and vowed to appeal.
For more on the truckers strike, check out out Tuesday’s blog: Truckers Strike at the Ports of Los Angeles & Long Beach.
Container Ship Backlog Cleared at Ports of Los Angeles & Long Beach
The Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach have made incredible and very visible headway on the congestion that has plagued the ports.
In December, the number of container ships sitting at anchor waiting to birth at the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach was in the twenties. In February, over 30 ships were backlogged, unable to get in and get their cargo unloaded at the ports.
Now, when you look out at the ocean past the docks of the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, you’ll see 0 ships anchored and unable to get birthed.
That’s right, ZERO!
That’s pretty impressive considering as recent as March 14th, there were still 28 ships at anchor, unable to birth.
In an American Shipper article, the Port of Long Beach boasts about the improvement:
“This morning it has been fluctuating between zero and one containerships,” said Jon Slangerup, the chief executive officer of the Port of Long Beach said Wednesday morning at the port’s annual peak season forecast event. “Ships are now coming in and moving immediately to berth, which is a tremendous improvement in just a few weeks.”
Fluctuating between zero and one containerships, Mr. Slangerup? Does that mean there’s half of a ship anchored out there?
Anyway, great progress is being made in clearing the congestion at the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach since the contract negotiations between the International Longshore & Warehouse Union and the Pacific Maritime Association finally concluded.