Iran grants India consular access to 18 crew of detained British vessel

Iran grants India consular access to 18 crew of detained British vessel”

Three Indian nationals remain on the MT Riah, while 18 were detained from the Stena Impero, which had 23 crew members in total. "The embassy is in close contact with Iranian partners on the issue of the timing of their return to home", the ministry said in the post along with the photos of three crew members.

A crude oil tanker sails through the Persian Gulf towards Kharq Island to transport crude oil to export markets in the Persian Gulf, Iran.

The tanker, the Riah, which is based in the United Arab Emirates but registered in Panama, was seized almost two weeks ago in the Strait of Hormuz, the narrow waterway through which 20 percent of the world's oil supply is shipped.

Tehran's move is widely seen as a reprisal for the UK's seizure of the Iranian tanker Grace 1 off the British territory of Gibraltar in the Mediterranean on July 4.

Officials from the High Commission of India (HCI) in London have met the 24 Indian crew members on the Grace-1.

On Thursday, India said its diplomats in Iran had been given access to the Stena Impero crew.

Iran had accused the MT Riah ship of smuggling contraband fuel when it was detained, amid mounting tensions between the Iranian government and Britain and the U.S. over shipping in the Strait of Hormuz. While there are 24 Indians in the crew of the Iranian tanker Grace 1, the Stena Impero has 18 Indians in its crew.

The MEA had on Thursday confirmed that "all 18 crew members are safe". The minister tweeted that the crew's morale is high.

"What we saw was that the crew members were very calm, very composed, and there was no sense of panic".

In a related case, the supertanker Grace 1, which was detained by the United Kingdom while carrying Iranian crude through the Strait of Gibraltar, had 24 Indians among crew members. Will continue to push for their early release. Shenoy's father added that they have been informed that the release of the crew could take some time "since it happens to be an global level issue".

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