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Iran Says Crew Of Seized Portuguese-Flagged Ship In ‘Perfect Health’


The deputy director of Iran’s Ports and Maritime Organization announced that the crew of the seized Portuguese-flagged container ship MSC Aries is “in perfect health.”

The ship, linked to an Israeli-owned company, was intercepted by the Revolutionary Guard in the Strait of Hormuz on April 13 amidst heightened tensions with Israel.

Ali Akbar Marzban claimed, “all 24 crew members of the ship are in perfect health, and there is no concern regarding their health, hygiene, welfare, and safety.” One female crew member from India, initially part of the crew, has been allowed to return home.

On Saturday, Iran’s Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian told his Portuguese counterpart, Paulo Rangel, that consular access has been granted and the crew is expected to be released soon and turned over to their ambassadors in Tehran.

The IRGC claims the MSC Aries was violating maritime laws and maintains its seizure was due to the vessel’s associations with the country’s archenemy, Israel. The ship is reportedly leased by MSC from Gortal Shipping, connected to Zodiac Maritime, which is partly owned by Israeli businessman Eyal Ofer.

The seizure coincided with an escalation in regional tensions, occurring on the same day Iran executed its first direct assault on Israel, and following a suspected Israeli airstrike in Damascus at the beginning of April.

The incident comes alongside the Iran-backed Houthis’ Red Sea blockade which began in November in efforts to force a ceasefire on Israel amid the Gaza war, launched by Iran-backed Hamas on October 7.

Since then, in the wake of Israel’s relentless bombardment in a bid to quash Hamas and release the remaining 133 hostages still held in Gaza, the Houthi militia, under the command of Iran’s supreme leader, has implemented a blockade begun on Israel ships, but since extended to global shipping.

In November, the Galaxy Leader was the first ship to be taken hostage by the Houthis, who are still holding 25 crew hostage hailing from all over the world.