Iran frees five Indian sailors on seized Israeli-linked ship

Tehran has also freed a Filipino and an Estonian crew

Iran's Revolutionary Guards rappel down onto a container ship named MSC Aries, near the Strait of Hormuz.  AFP
Powered by automated translation

Five Indian sailors who were among 25 crew in the Israel-linked cargo ship seized by Iran have been released and are on their way back to India, the Indian Embassy in Tehran has said.

“(Five) 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 co-ordination with the Embassy and Indian Consulate in Bandar Abbas,” the Embassy said on X.

The Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps had seized the Portuguese-flagged cargo ship MSC Aries carrying 25 crew, 17 of whom are Indian citizens, in the Strait of Hormuz on April 13.

New Delhi had contacted Tehran to secure their release.

Ann Tessa Joseph, the only female crew on the seized ship, was released and returned to her home state of Kerala in southern India on April 18.

Iran has also freed a Filipino and an Estonian crew.

The remaining 11 Indian crew will be released once their contractual obligations are accomplished, media reports said.

Indian Foreign Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar had expressed concern over the crew’s conditions in a phone call to his Iranian counterpart Hossein Amirabdollahian in April.

Iran had allowed Indian diplomats to meet the crew.

The seizure of the ship came amid heightened tensions between Iran and Israel over the killing of senior members of the paramilitary group in an air strike in Syria.

Tehran had launched 300 missiles and combat drones on the same day as it seized the ship in retaliation for Israel’s air strike on the Iranian embassy in Damascus on April 1.

Updated: May 10, 2024, 1:30 PM