Iran frees five Indians among crew seized from Portuguese ship last month | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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Iran frees five Indians among crew seized from Portuguese ship last month

May 09, 2024 08:17 PM IST

Iran releases seven crew members from seized ship in the Gulf, including five Indians, a Filipino, and an Estonian.

Iran released seven crew members from the Portuguese-flagged ship MSC Aries, which was seized in the Gulf on April 13. Among those freed were five Indians, along with a Filipino and an Estonian, Portugal's foreign ministry said.

Representative Image.The MSC Luciana container ship, left, approaches the Port of Felixstowe, owned by a unit of CK Hutchison Holdings Ltd., in Felixstowe, UK, on Monday, March 4, 2024. (Bloomberg)
Representative Image.The MSC Luciana container ship, left, approaches the Port of Felixstowe, owned by a unit of CK Hutchison Holdings Ltd., in Felixstowe, UK, on Monday, March 4, 2024. (Bloomberg)

Iran claimed the container ship had Israeli links when it was seized.

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Portugal has welcomed the release of seven crew members from the seized vessel but demanded the "immediate release" of the remaining 17 crew and the vessel itself.

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Why Iran has seized the ship?

Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Navy seized the container ship MSC Aries, with 17 Indian nationals onboard, near the Strait of Hormuz on April 13. The vessel was last observed on April 12, heading towards the Strait of Hormuz off the coast of Dubai.

This came amidst escalating hostilities, including a drone attack by Iranian forces against Israel.

"It is certain that this ship belongs to the Zionist regime," an Iranian foreign ministry spokesman said at the time.

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India-Iranian diplomatic channel was activated

During a phone call on April 14, external affairs Minister S Jaishankar discussed the release of Indian seafarers with his Iranian counterpart, Hossein Amir-Abdollahian. Jaishankar expressed concern about the crew's situation and sought Iran's assistance.

Amir-Abdollahian assured that Indian officials would be permitted to meet the crew.

The Indian seafarers on the Portuguese-flagged cargo vessel comprised the ship's master along with four Filipinos, two Pakistanis, one Russian, and one Estonian.

ALSO READ- Kerala woman among 17 Indian crew members of ship seized by Iran returns home

Sole Indian woman seafarer was released earlier

Ann Tessa Joseph, the sole woman among the 17 Indian crew members was released. While the rest of the crew were allowed to meet Indian authorities.

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