Iran to release 25-member crew of Israel-linked ship: Foreign minister

They have been granted consular access and would be turned over to their ambassadors in Tehran

By Reuters

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This image grab taken from a UGC video posted on social media on April 13 shows Iran's Revolutionary Guards rappelling down onto a container ship named, MSC Aries, near the Strait of Hormuz. Photo: AFP file
This image grab taken from a UGC video posted on social media on April 13 shows Iran's Revolutionary Guards rappelling down onto a container ship named, MSC Aries, near the Strait of Hormuz. Photo: AFP file

Published: Sat 27 Apr 2024, 10:28 AM

Iran’s foreign minister said the crew of a seized Portuguese-flagged ship linked to Israel have been granted consular access and are expected to be freed, Iranian media reported on Saturday.

Iran's Revolutionary Guards seized the container vessel MSC Aries with a crew of 25 in the Strait of Hormuz on April 13, days after Tehran vowed to retaliate for a suspected Israeli strike on its consulate in Damascus. Iran had said it could close the crucial shipping route.


Recent attacks on merchant shipping in the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden by Yemen's Iran-aligned Houthis, claiming solidarity with Palestinians in Gaza during Israel's war with Hamas, have affected global shipping.

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Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian told his Portuguese counterpart Paulo Rangel in a telephone call that the “humanitarian issue of the release of the ship's crew is of serious concern to us", Iranian media said.

He was quoted as saying the crew would be turned over to their ambassadors in Tehran. The reports did not say when this would occur.

Iran’s foreign ministry has said the Aries was seized for "violating maritime laws" and that there was no doubt it was linked to Israel.

MSC leases the Aries from Gortal Shipping, an affiliate of Zodiac Maritime, which is partly owned by Israeli businessman Eyal Ofer.

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