New Delhi: The Indian government has contacted authorities in Iran to secure the release of its 18 sailors who are on board the British oil tanker Stena Impero that has been seized by Iran following a collision with an Iranian fishing boat and for “violating” international maritime rules.
“We are ascertaining further details on the incident. Our Mission is in touch with the Government of Iran to secure the early release and repatriation of Indian nationals,” external affairs ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said on Saturday with regard to the detention of Indian crew members along with the oil tanker by the Iranian authorities. The Stena Impero was seized by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard on Friday.
Apart from 18 Indians, it has crew members from Russia, the Philippines and Latvia on board. The captain of the tanker is an Indian. The tanker is at present in Bander Abbas. Stena Bulk, a Swedish company which owns the vessel, said they have been unable to contact the ship, which was seized in the Strait of Hormuz.
“After the vessel was approached by unidentified small naval craft and a helicopter during her transit of the Strait of Hormuz in international waters... The vessel suddenly deviated from her passage to Jubail and headed north towards Iran,” the company said in statement. It added that the vessel was in full compliance with all navigation and international regulations, it said.
Britain, meanwhile said Iran had seized two ships in the Gulf, with foreign secretary Jeremy Hunt warning of “serious consequences” if the issue was not resolved quickly....