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All crew, including 16 Indians, onboard Portuguese ship released by Iran

All crew, including 16 Indians, onboard Portuguese ship released by Iran

New Delhi: Iran has announced that it has freed all 25 crew members including 17 Indians, of the Portuguese-flagged cargo ship MSC Aries.

According to an Iranian readout, Iranian Foreign Minister Amir Abdollahian discussed the ship's crew's release with his Estonian counterpart Margus Tsahkna over the phone on Friday.

Days after the tanker was taken by Iran's military on April 13, Ann Tessa Joseph, the only female cadet among the 17 Indian crew members of the Israeli-affiliated container vessel, was set free, the New Indian Express reported.

“In response to the request of the Estonian side regarding the Portuguese ship seized in the territorial waters of the Islamic Republic of Iran and the release of the Estonian 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,” the Iranian foreign ministry said.

In a recent conversation with his Portuguese counterpart, Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahain stated that the sailors would be released shortly on humanitarian grounds. The ship, named MSC Aries, is owned by an Israeli and was flying a Portuguese flag.

“We have been able to establish contact with all these 16 sailors. They are in good health, we had consular access. As far as their return to India is concerned, it is dependent on several factors, including their contractual obligations. We are in touch with them and also the Iranian authorities for their release,’’ said MEA spokesperson Randhir Jaiswal.

According to sources, Israel is eager for India to lift its travel warning since there are approximately 6,000 Indian labourers who are ready to visit Israel. Likewise, some five thousand Indians are waiting to return from Iran. Regarding the current travel advisory that India has been issuing to Iran and Israel, it has suggested that its people exercise travel caution.

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