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17 Indians among crew on ship captured by Iran off UAE cost amid escalating tensions
MCS Aries was seized near the Strait of Hormuz through a heliborne operation. (Photo courtesy: videograb )

17 Indians among crew on ship captured by Iran off UAE cost amid escalating tensions

| @indiablooms | 13 Apr 2024, 08:35 pm

Among the 25 crew members on the container ship captured by Iran's Revolutionary Guards off the coast of the UAE on Saturday, 17 are Indian nationals, media reports said.

Iran's state-owned IRNA news agency reported that the container ship, MCS Aries, was seized near the Strait of Hormuz through a "heliborne operation" and is currently en route to Iran's territorial waters.

Media reported citing sources that there are at least 17 Indian nationals in the cargo ship 'MSC Aries' seized by Iran, and Delhi is in touch with Tehran through diplomatic channels to ensure their security and early release.

Amid escalating tensions in the Middle East, the seizure of the vessel occurs against a backdrop of heightened concerns regarding potential hostilities between Iran and Israel.

Iran vowed retaliation for an airstrike on its embassy's consular section in Damascus, Syria, nearly two weeks ago—which resulted in the deaths of seven people, including two generals. It has raised fears of an imminent attack on Israel.

Iran has asserted that the captured vessel has ties to the Israeli government, referring to it as "related to the Zionist regime (Israel) in the Gulf."

Tracking websites such as vesselfinder.com and marinetraffic.com have identified the MSC Aries as a container ship flying the Portuguese flag, with its last reported location in the Gulf.

"A container ship named 'MCS Aries' was seized by the Sepah (Guards) Navy Special Forces by carrying out a heliborne operation," the IRNA agency reported.

The operation, it stated, occurred "near the Strait of Hormuz," a strategic passage between the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman crucial for global trade. The vessel has since been directed towards the territorial waters of Iran.

Israel Warns

Following the ship's seizure, the Israeli army issued a cautionary warning against further escalation of the conflict in the region.

"Iran will bear the consequences for choosing to escalate the situation any further," military spokesman Daniel Hagari said in a statement.

"Iran is the world's biggest state sponsor of terror. Its network of terror doesn't just threaten the people of Israel, Gaza, Lebanon, and Syria; the regime in Iran fuels the war in Ukraine and beyond... Israel is on high alert. We have increased our readiness to protect Israel from further Iranian aggression. We are also prepared to respond," the statement said.

 

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