Israel-linked Ship With 17 Indian Crew Members Seized By Iran

The seized ship is named MSC Aries which is operated by the Italian-Swiss group MSC.

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Israel, Indian Crew Members, Iran, Revolutionary Guard, Strait of Hormuz, Iran Israel Conflict, Iranian consulate, Damascus, Syria, MSC Aries, MSC, Zodiac Maritime, Eyal Ofer, Zodiac Group, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei
This image made from a video provided to The Associated Press by a Mideast defense official shows a helicopter raid targeting a vessel near the Strait of Hormuz on Saturday, April 13, 2024. A video seen by The Associated Press shows commandos raiding a ship near the Strait of Hormuz by helicopter Saturday, an attack a Mideast defense official attributed to Iran amid wider tensions between Tehran and the West. The Mideast defense official spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss intelligence matters. (AP Photo)

Iran Israel Conflict: Amidst the already uncertain situation in the volatile region of the Middle East, the commandos from Iran’s paramilitary Revolutionary Guard on Saturday abseiled down from a helicopter onto an Israeli-affiliated container ship with 25 crew members near the Strait of Hormuz and seized the vessel.

Of the 25 crew members aboard the ship, 17 are Indian, said the sources privy to the incident.

The situation at the moment is said to be “explosive” following the air strike on the Iranian consulate in Damascus, Syria 11 days ago. Iran has blamed Israel for this attack and it has been feared that Iran may attack Israel soon.

MSC Aries

The ship has been identified as the MSC Aries operated by the Italian-Swiss group MSC which has confirmed that Iranian authorities had boarded it.

A container ship “was seized by the Sepah (Guards) Navy Special Forces by carrying out a heliborne operation,” reported Iran’s state news agency IRNA adding that a special forces unit of the Guard’s navy attacked the vessel, the Portuguese-flagged MSC Aries, a container ship associated with London-based Zodiac Maritime.

Zodiac Maritime is part of Israeli billionaire Eyal Ofer’s Zodiac Group. Zodiac declined to comment and referred questions to MSC. Geneva-based MSC later acknowledged the seizure and said 25 crew had been aboard the vessel. IRNA said the Guard would take the vessel into Iranian territorial waters.

Meanwhile, Israel has warned that Iran will suffer the “consequences” of escalating the conflict in the region after Iran said that it had seized the ship MSC Aries.

“Iran will bear the consequences for choosing to escalate the situation any further,” Daniel Hagari, the military spokesman said in a statement.

The Middle East had braced for potential Iranian retaliation over a suspected Israeli strike earlier this month on an Iranian consular building in Syria that killed 12 people, including a senior Guard general who once commanded its expeditionary Quds Force there.

The MSC Aries had been last located off Dubai heading toward the Strait of Hormuz on Friday and had turned off its tracking data, which has been common for Israeli-affiliated ships moving through the region.

For days, Iranian officials including Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei have been threatening to “slap” Israel for the Syria strike.

Government Of India Issues Statement

“Government of India is aware that a cargo ship ‘MSC Aries’ has been taken control by Iran. We have learnt that there are 17 Indian nationals onboard. We are in touch with the Iranian authorities through diplomatic channels, both in Tehran and in Delhi, to ensure security, welfare and early release of Indian nationals,” said government sources.

(With agency inputs)

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