The Government once again reiterated that a team of Ministry of External Affairs was already working on the early release and repatriation of all 18 Indian crew members of a British-flagged oil tanker seized by Iran in the Strait of Hormuz on Friday.
External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar said the Indian embassy in Tehran is in constant contact with the Iranian authorities to resolve the matter.
However, the government has been tight-lipped about the condition of the Indian crew members.
Meanwhile, Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Sunday wrote to Jaishankar stating that it is learnt that there were four persons from Kerala among the crew.
Vijayan further requested for all possible efforts to be made to ensure the safety of the Indians. He further asked the Ministry to share the details of the persons with the state government so that their family members can be contacted and helped in the period of crisis.
Eighteen Indians, including the captain, and nationals from the Philippines, Latvia and Russia were on board the Stena Impero when Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) seized the tanker in the Strait of Hormuz on Friday for breaking “international maritime rules” as tensions mount in the highly sensitive waterway.
“The British vessel was captured for failing to respect the international maritime rules while passing through the Strait of Hormuz,” said a statement released by Public Relations of the IRGC.
The oil tanker was delivered to Iran’s Hormozgan Ports and Maritime Organization at the Iranian coast for further legal procedures, the statement added.
Following the report, the Ministry of External Affairs on Saturday said that the government was in touch with the Iranian government to secure the early release of Indian nationals.
Meanwhile, Iran has opened an investigation into the tanker as it alleged that the ship collided with a fishing vessel in the Strait of Hormuz.
The latest incident came as President Donald Trump insisted Friday that the US military had downed an Iranian drone that was threatening an American naval vessel in the Strait of Hormuz, despite denials from Tehran.
The incident also comes on the heels of the IRGC announcing that it had seized a foreign ship “smuggling fuel” in the Gulf on Thursday, days after reports of a British tanker being harassed in the region.