Iran has released the Maersk Tigris cargo vessel seized by its patrol boats in the Strait of Hormuz last week over a business dispute, Iranian government media has said.

"An informed source at the Ports and Maritime Organisation said the Maersk ship was free" to leave the country, the IRNA state news agency reported on Thursday.

It gave no further details but said an official statement would be issued later on the vessel's release.

Iran has said it seized the container ship on April 28 because of a commercial dispute with Denmark's Maersk group, which chartered the Marshall Islands-flagged vessel.

The move caused concern for the security of shipping lanes in the strategic strait and prompted the United States to send vessels to monitor the situation.

In a sign of reduced tensions, the Pentagon said Wednesday that the US Navy had halted a mission to accompany American-flagged vessels passing through the Strait of Hormuz.

US warships will however remain in the area to conduct "routine maritime security operations," spokesman Colonel Steven Warren told reporters.


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On Wednesday Tehran denied it had detained the ship's 24 crew members, saying they were benefiting from diplomatic assistance.

Iranian state TV reported that the crew members were from Bulgaria, Myanmar, Romania and Britain.

The seizure was in connection with an Iranian court order for Maersk to pay $3.6m (3.2 million euros) in damages to Iranian firm Pars Oil Products Talayieh over cargo that allegedly was not delivered.

Source: Agencies