India asks Iran to free Indians on seized ship

The Asian Age.

World, Americas

The MSC Aries, owned by Zodiac Maritime, was seized close to the Strait of Hormuz, a critical maritime chokepoint

This image made from a video provided to The Associated Press by a Mideast defense official shows a helicopter raid targeting a vessel near the Strait of Hormuz on Saturday, April 13, 2024. A video seen by The Associated Press shows commandos raiding a ship near the Strait of Hormuz by helicopter Saturday, an attack a Mideast defense official attributed to Iran amid wider tensions between Tehran and the West. The Mideast defense official spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss intelligence matters. (AP Photo)

Dubai: India stepped up talks with Iranian authorities to ensure the security and swift release of 17 Indians aboard a cargo ship, "MSC Aries," that was captured by Iran on Saturday. The vessel, reportedly Israeli-owned, was seized in the Gulf of Oman by Iran's elite Revolutionary Guards, escalating tensions between Iran and Israel.

Indian diplomatic channels in New Delhi and Tehran are in contact with Iranian authorities to safeguard the welfare of the Indian nationals. This development follows India's advisory on Friday advising against travel to Iran or Israel due to heightened tensions, particularly after an attack on an Iranian diplomatic mission in Syria, attributed to Israel.

The MSC Aries, owned by Zodiac Maritime, was seized close to the Strait of Hormuz, a critical maritime chokepoint. The vessel, operating from the UAE port of Khalifa to Mumbai's Nhava Sheva, had 25 crew members onboard. The Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC), the world's largest container shipping line, confirmed the seizure and stated its commitment to ensuring the crew's safety and the vessel's return.

Reports indicate previous encounters between Iranian forces and Israeli-owned ships due to their ownership, prompting warnings for such vessels to reconsider transiting the Strait of Hormuz. The Strait is vital for oil tanker traffic, carrying oil from Gulf producers to the world and serving as a crucial route for container ships.