IRGC seizes Israeli-linked cargo ship in Strait of Hormuz


(MENAFN) Over the weekend, the Iranian Revolutionary Guard made headlines by announcing its control over a cargo vessel flying the Portuguese flag and purportedly owned by an Israeli businessman. According to reports from the Iranian "Tasnim" agency, the Revolutionary Guard's Air Force intercepted the ship "MSC Aries" as it traversed the strategically significant Strait of Hormuz. The vessel is said to be owned by Israeli entrepreneur Eyal Ofel, who heads the London-based Zodiac Maritime company.

Israeli Army Radio, meanwhile, indicated on the "X" platform that the ship "is most likely partially owned by Israel" and disclosed that its intended destination was India. This revelation has underscored the geopolitical tensions in the region, particularly between Iran and Israel, adding another layer of complexity to an already volatile situation.

In response to the incident, Zodiac Maritime, an international shipping
company in which Eyal Ofer holds a stake, issued a statement clarifying the ownership structure of the seized vessel. According to the company, MSC serves as the manager and commercial operator of the ship, while the ownership lies with Gortal Shipping Company, a subsidiary of Zodiac Maritime. The statement emphasized that Gortal Shipping, acting as the financier, had leased the vessel to MSC under a long-term arrangement.

The seizure of the cargo ship by Iranian authorities has escalated diplomatic tensions and raised concerns about maritime security in the region. The incident serves as a stark reminder of the geopolitical complexities and risks associated with commercial shipping
operations, particularly in areas prone to political and military tensions. As stakeholders assess the ramifications of this development, attention is likely to focus on efforts to de-escalate tensions and ensure the safe passage of vessels through critical maritime routes.

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