India asks Iran to guarantee safety of 17 Indians on captured Portuguese ship

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The Government of India is in contact with Tehran through diplomatic channels to ensure the safety of 17 Indians on board a Portuguese-flagged ship captured by Iran near the Strait of Hormuz, an official source said today.

“We are aware that control of the cargo ship MSC Aries has been taken over by Iran. We know that there are 17 Indian citizens on board,” a source from India’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs told Spanish news agency Efe.

According to the same source, the Indian government is in “contact with the Iranian authorities through diplomatic channels, both in Tehran and New Delhi, to ensure the safety, well-being and speedy release of the citizens”.

India and Iran have had stable diplomatic relations since 1950, although economic relations are dominated by New Delhi’s imports of Iranian oil.

The Tasnim agency, linked to the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, announced today that “a cargo ship associated with the Zionist regime [Israel]” had been captured.

The MSC Aries is a Portuguese-flagged cargo ship (registered in the Autonomous Region of Madeira), owned by Zodiac Maritime Limited, based in London, part of the Zodiac group, owned by Israeli billionaire Eyal Ofer.

The incident comes amid the tension created by the Israeli attack on the Iranian consulate in Damascus on the 1st of this month, which left seven members of the Revolutionary Guard dead. Iran has since promised to retaliate, with the United States warning that Tehran could respond over the weekend.

The ship left Khalifa, in the United Arab Emirates, bound for Nhava Sheva, in India, and the last position received was on Friday, in exactly the same spot near the Strait of Hormuz where it was seized.

The Iranian state news agency IRNA today acknowledged the assault on the ship, following reports of an attack on the same boat, suspected to have been carried out by the Revolutionary Guard, an Iranian paramilitary force that has carried out similar assaults in the past.

The incident was initially reported by the UK’s commercial maritime operations agency (UKTMO), whose source shared the video of the attack with AP.

Since 2019, Iran has been accused of being involved in several robberies and attacks on ships in the Gulf of Oman area, through which around a fifth of all oil traded in the world passes.

The Portuguese government has stated that there are no Portuguese citizens on board and that it has already asked Tehran for clarification.

Iran seizes Israel-linked Portuguese ship MCS ARIES

Moti Shabi
Moti Shabi
Moti Shabi

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