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India in touch with Iran to secure release of 17 Indians onboard container ship seized by Iranian forces

Seventeen Indians are on board an Israeli-linked container ship that has been seized by the Iranian military amid heightened tensions between Iran and Israel.

BREAKING 17 Indians aboard on ship seized by Iran off UAE Coast amid escalating tensions snt
First Published Apr 13, 2024, 7:03 PM IST

In a troubling development, it has been revealed that a container ship, the MCS Aries, has been seized by Iran's Revolutionary Guards off the coast of the UAE. According to sources, of the 25 crew members aboard the vessel, a staggering 17 are Indian nationals. The seizure occurred near the strategic Strait of Hormuz, with Iranian state-owned IRNA news agency reporting that it was conducted through a "heliborne operation," diverting the ship towards Iran's territorial waters.

This seizure comes amidst heightened tensions in the already volatile Middle East region. Of particular concern are recent reports suggesting Iran's intentions of retaliation against Israel following an airstrike on the consular section of its embassy in Syria's Damascus, resulting in the loss of seven lives, including two generals. Iran has explicitly linked the seized vessel to the "Zionist regime (Israel) in the Gulf," exacerbating the geopolitical implications of the situation.

Tracking websites and have identified the MSC Aries as a Portuguese-flagged container ship, with its last known position reported in the Gulf. The fate of the crew members, especially the 17 Indian nationals, remains uncertain as diplomatic channels between India and Iran are activated to address the urgent need for their safety, welfare, and early release.

"We are aware that a cargo ship ‘MSC Aries’ has been taken control by Iran. We have learnt that there are 17 Indian nationals onboard. We are in touch with the Iranian authorities through diplomatic channels, both in Tehran and in Delhi, to ensure security, welfare and early release of Indian nationals," sources told Asianet Newsable.

The seizure of the MCS Aries underscores the precariousness of maritime operations in the region and highlights the potential risks faced by international shipping crews amid escalating tensions. As diplomatic efforts intensify to resolve the situation peacefully, the global community closely monitors developments, hoping for a swift and amicable resolution to ensure the safe return of the crew members and de-escalation of tensions in the region.

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