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Red Sea Crisis

MSC Aries crew released, claims Iran

IRNA video screenshot MSC-Aries-Boarding.jpg
Iran’s Foreign Minister told his Estonian counterpart that the ship was seized for endangering the security of navigation.

In a call between Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian and Margus Tsahkna, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Estonia, Amirabdollahian said the crew of MSC Aries had been released on humanitarian grounds and were free to return home “if the ship’s captain accompanies them”.

The crew consists of 25 Indian, Filipino, Pakistani, Russian, and Estonian seafarers. The Indian seafarer onboard the vessel, Deck Cadet Ann Tessa Joseph, is reported to have been released earlier and landed in Cochin on 18 April.

The 15,000 teu container ship MSC Aries was seized by Iranian forces in the Strait of Hormuz on April 13 with 25 crew onboard. Iran initially said the ship was targeted due to its links to Israel, but Amirabdollahian alleged in his call that the ship had turned off its transponders in Iranian waters, endangering security of navigation.

The ship remains detained under judicial rules, he added.

The announcement follows an update earlier this week when Iran said the crew had been granted consular access to pursue release and extradition.