Friday, May 24, 2024

India in Touch with Iran to Secure Release of 17 Nationals Onboard Tehran Seized Israeli-Linked Ship

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New Delhi: India has reached out to Iran about the seizure of an Israel-linked container ship by Iranian armed forces near the Strait of Hormuz, seeking the early release of 17 Indian crew members.

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According to AP, the vessel was identified as the Portugal-flagged MSC Aries. It reportedly departed from a port in the United Arab Emirates en route to India.>

It is associated with the London-based Zodiac Maritime, a part of the Zodiac Group run by Israeli billionaire Eyal Ofer and his family. Zodiac Maritime is part of Israeli billionaire Eyal Ofer’s Zodiac Group.

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As per Indian official sources, India was aware there were around 17 Indian nationals on board the cargo ship ‘MSC Aries’ taken over by Iran.>

“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,” said sources.

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Earlier, a Middle East defence official, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss intelligence matters, shared a video of the attack with the news agency. In it, the commandos are seen rappelling down onto a stack of containers sitting on the deck of the vessel.>

A crew member on the ship can be heard saying: “Don’t come out.” He then tells his colleagues to go to the ship’s bridge as more commandos come down on the deck. One commando can be seen kneeling above the others to provide them potential cover fire.>

The video corresponded with known details of the MSC Aries. The helicopter used also appeared to be a Soviet-era Mil Mi-17 helicopter, which both the Guard and the Iranian-backed Houthi rebels of Yemen have used in the past to conduct commando raids on ships, the report said.>

Sources said the Nhava Sheva (JNPA) bound Portugal flagged container vessel has 25 crews, including 17 from India (including one lady deck cadet). The vessel had loaded and sailed from Khalifa, UAE on Friday and was bound for JNPA.

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In late November, another Israeli-linked container ship was attacked and damaged by a drone in the Indian Ocean, which the United States blamed on Iran.>

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