Iran says to free crew of seized Portugal-flagged ship

AFP , Saturday 27 Apr 2024

Iran said Saturday it would release the crew members of a Portuguese-flagged ship that its forces seized this month in the Gulf.

Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei
Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.


The Revolutionary Guard Corps took over the MSC Aries with 25 crew members on board near the Strait of Hormuz on April 13.

Tehran later said the ship belonged to its arch-foe Israel and was being investigated for alleged violations of international maritime law.

"The humanitarian issue of the release of the ship's crew is of great concern to us," Iran's Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian said in a phone call with his Portuguese counterpart Paulo Rangel.

"We have given consular access to their ambassadors in Tehran and announced to the envoys that the crew members will be released and extradition," he was quoted as saying in a statement from his ministry, without elaborating.

Following the ship's seizure, Portugal summoned Iran's ambassador to demand its immediate release.

On April 18, India said one of the 17 Indian crew members had returned home and that the others were granted consular access.

"They are in good health, and they are not facing any problems on the ship. As for their return, there are some technicalities involved in it," an Indian foreign ministry spokesman said on Thursday.

The ship's seizure took place hours before Iran carried out its first-ever direct retaliatory attack on Israel, launching hundreds of drones and missiles.

Regional tensions have soared since the Israeli war on Gaza broke out nearly seven months ago.

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