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Iran Frees All Crew, Including 17 Indians, Of Seized Vessel

The Israel-linked cargo ship was seized by Iran on April 13, with 17 Indian nationals onboard.

Iran has released all crew members of the Portuguese-flagged cargo ship MSC Aries, which had 17 Indians aboard among 25 crews.

Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian held a telephone conversation with its Estonian counterpart Margus Tsahkna on Friday, the Iranian Foreign Ministry said.

During a telephone conversation between Margus Tsahkna, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Estonia, and Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian, the two sides discussed the latest state of bilateral ties and regional developments.

Ann Tessa Joseph from Thrissur, Kerala, one of the 17 Indian crew members of the Israel-linked cargo ship ‘MSC Aries’ that was seized by Iran on April 13, returned safely to her homeland on April 18.

The Israel-linked cargo ship was seized by Iran on April 13, with 17 Indian nationals onboard. Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Navy seized the container ship near the Strait of Hormuz and MSC Aries was last seen on April 12, sailing towards the Strait of Hormuz off the coast of Dubai.

The Ministry of External Affairs recently said that one of the 17 Indian crew members has safely returned to India and others are safe, adding that they will be released once their contractual obligations are accomplished.

“One girl who was there has returned. We had asked for consular access for these 16 people and we received that and our officers met them. Their health is good and there is no problem of any kind on the ship. Concerning their return, there are some technicalities and contractual obligations. Once they are done, it will decide their return,” MEA spokesperson, Randhir Jaiswal said in a weekly press briefing on April 25.

Iranian Ambassador to India, Iraj Elahi, has also said that the Indian nationals, crew members of MSC Aries, are not detained and that they are free to go.

In the wake of the seizure of the container vessel, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar spoke to his Iranian counterpart Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, bringing up the release of the 17 Indian crew members.

Responding to the request of the Estonian side regarding the Portuguese ship seized in the territorial waters of Iran and the release of the crew, Amirabdollahian said, “The ship, which turned off its radar in the territorial waters of Iran and endangered the security of navigation, is detained under judicial rules.”

Earlier today, during the telephone discussion between Iranian and Estonian officials, Iran stated that it “has already released all the ship’s crew members on humanitarian grounds, and if the ship’s captain accompanies them, the crew including the Estonians can return to their country.”

Amirabdollahian further underlined that compliance with maritime rules and regulations by all ships is necessary and unavoidable in order to maintain maritime safety, according to the statement.

Tensions escalated between Iran and the West amid the ongoing war between Israel and Hamas. (ANI)

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