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Business News/ News / World/  Iran-Israel tensions: 17 Indian nationals onboard ‘MSC Aries’ seized by Tehran
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Iran-Israel tensions: 17 Indian nationals onboard ‘MSC Aries’ seized by Tehran

A cargo ship named MSC Aries has been seized by Iran with 17 Indian nationals on board. Indian authorities are working with Iran to ensure the safety and prompt release of the nationals.

Iran's Revolutionary Guards seen rappelling down onto MSC Aries container ship near the Strait of Hormuz. (AFP)Premium
Iran's Revolutionary Guards seen rappelling down onto MSC Aries container ship near the Strait of Hormuz. (AFP)

Iran seized a cargo ship linked to Israeli businessman Eyal Ofer on Saturday amid growing concerns about a wider Middle East war. Indian authorities are now in touch with their Iranian counterparts after learning that there are 17 citizens on board MSC Aries. Iranian state media said the ship — identified as the Portuguese-flagged MSC Aries — had now been "directed towards the territorial waters" of Tehran.

“We are aware that a cargo ship ‘MSC Aries’ has been taken control of by Iran. We have learnt that there are 17 Indian nationals onboard. We are in touch with the Iranian authorities through diplomatic channels, both in Tehran and in Delhi, to ensure the security, welfare and early release of Indian nationals," sources told news agency ANI.

Visuals accessed by news agency AP showed commandos from the Iranian paramilitary Revolutionary Guard rappelling down from a helicopter onto the vessel near the Strait of Hormuz on Saturday. The UK Joint Maritime Information Center said the ship was likely targeted due to its perceived Israeli affiliation. MSC Aries is a container ship associated with London-based Zodiac Maritime — a company that is part of the Zodiac Group led by Ofer.

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According to Geneva-based MSC, there had been 25 crew members on board the vessel. The ship was last located off Dubai as it headed towards the Strait of Hormuz on Friday. It had turned off tracking data — now a common practice for Israeli-affiliated ships moving through the region. The company said the ship was boarded by Iranian forces at around 6:43 am (United Arab Emirates time) as it passed through the Strait of Hormuz. 

The passageway is a key chokepoint for energy shipments through which around a fifth of the world’s daily oil supply passes. Earlier this week, Tehrah had also threatened to brock the Strait of Hormuz amid rising tensions with Israel.

Israel-Iran Tensions — Follow LIVE updates

(With inputs from agencies)

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Published: 13 Apr 2024, 07:01 PM IST
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