Iran Releases Crew of Seized Portuguese Cargo Vessel MSC Aries

Iran has announced the release of all crew members aboard the Portuguese-flagged cargo vessel MSC Aries, which was seized by Iran’s military earlier this month. The vessel had 17 Indian nationals among its 25-member crew and was detained by Iranian authorities on April 13, sparking international concern.

Iran’s Foreign Minister, Amir Abdollahian, conveyed the news of the crew’s release during a phone conversation with Estonia’s Foreign Minister Margus Tsahkna. According to an Iranian statement, Abdollahian assured Tsahkna that Iran had released all crew members, including the Estonian nationals, on humanitarian grounds. The vessel’s detention, he emphasized, was based on judicial regulations, citing the ship’s alleged violation of Iranian territorial waters by turning off its radar, thereby endangering navigation security.

The seizure of the MSC Aries had raised significant international concern, prompting statements from various stakeholders. Hours after the vessel was apprehended, White House National Security Council disclosed that the crew comprised individuals from India, the Philippines, Pakistan, Russia, and Estonia. The incident underscored the complexities and challenges inherent in maritime security in the region.

As the crew members prepare to return to their respective countries, attention now shifts to addressing the underlying issues that led to the vessel’s seizure. The incident serves as a reminder of the importance of upholding maritime laws and ensuring the safety and security of vessels navigating international waters. Diplomatic efforts will likely continue to mitigate tensions and promote stability in the region’s maritime domain.

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