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In Diplomatic Win, 5 Indian Sailors On Ship Seized By Iran Released

In a diplomatic breakthrough, five of the Indian sailors on board an Israeli-linked vessel seized by Tehran were released on Thursday and have departed from Iran, the Indian embassy in Iran said.

The Indian Embassy, while sharing details of their release, thanked the Iranian authorities for their close coordination with the Embassy and Indian Consulate in Bandar Abbas.

“5 of the Indian sailors on MSC Aries have been released and departed from Iran today evening. We appreciate the Iranian authorities for their close coordination with the Embassy and Indian Consulate in Bandar Abbas,” MEA official spokesperson Randhir Jaiswal posted on X.

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.

Earlier, 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 Ministry of External Affairs had also 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.

The 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.”

Additionally, 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.

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Source: NDTV

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