“EWe are aware that control of the freighter MSC Aries has been taken by Iran. We know that there are 17 Indian citizens on board”, a source from the Indian Ministry of Foreign Affairs told the Spanish news agency Efe.

According to the same source, the Indian Government is in “contact with the Iranian authorities, through diplomatic channels, both in Tehran and New Delhi, to guarantee the security, well-being and rapid release of citizens”.

India and Iran have maintained stable diplomatic relations since 1950, despite economic relations being dominated by New Delhi’s imports of Iranian oil.

The Tasnim agency, linked to the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, announced today that “a cargo ship associated with the Zionist regime [Israel]” had been captured.

The MSC Aries is a cargo ship flying the Portuguese flag (registered in the Autonomous Region of Madeira), with the company owning Zodiac Maritime Limited, based in London, part of the Zodiac group, owned by Israeli billionaire Eyal Ofer.

The incident occurs amid tension created by the Israeli attack on the Iranian consulate in Damascus, on the 1st of this month, which left seven members of the Revolutionary Guard dead. Iran has meanwhile promised to retaliate, with the United States warning of the possibility of Tehran responding over the weekend.

The ship left Khalifa, in the United Arab Emirates, bound for Nhava Sheva, India, and the last position received was Friday, in exactly the same place near the Strait of Hormuz where it was seized.

The Iranian state news agency IRNA today acknowledged the assault on the ship, after an attack on the same boat was reported, which was suspected to have been carried out by the Revolutionary Guard, an Iranian paramilitary force that carried out similar assaults in the past.

The incident was initially reported by the United Kingdom’s Maritime Commercial Operations Agency (UKTMO), whose source shared video of the same attack with the AP.

Since 2019, Iran has been accused of being involved in several robberies and attacks on ships in the Gulf of Oman, where around a fifth of all oil traded in the world passes.

The Portuguese Government stated that there are no Portuguese citizens on board and that it has already asked Tehran for clarification.

Read Also: Portuguese-flagged ship seized by Iran has 25 crew on board

Source: https://www.noticiasaominuto.com/mundo/2540225/dezassete-dos-tripulantes-do-navio-portugues-capturado-sao-indianos

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