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Calls for military patrols to protect seafarers amid release of Indian female seafarer

The only female seafarer from among the 25 crew members on board the MSC Aries has been released by the Iranian authorities from the ship and reached her hometown of Thrissur in Kerala, India safely..

Ms.Ann Tessa Joseph was a Deck Cadet on board the MSC Aries a 15,000 TEU container ship when it was seized by Iranian forces in the Strait of Hormuz on April 13 with 25 crew onboard..

The reports vary on the reasons why Iran’s Revolutionary Guards seized the ship.. While some reports indicate that the MSC Aries was targeted due to its links to Israel, Reuters reports suggests that the ship was seized in retaliation for a suspected Israeli strike on the Iranian consulate in Damascus on April 1..

The same report also states “The vessel was diverted into Iran’s territorial waters as a result of violating maritime laws and not answering calls made by Iranian authorities,” quoting spokesperson Nasser Kanaani..

The Indian Government has welcomed the release and safe return of Deck Cadet Ann with the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) giving credit to the concerted efforts of the Indian mission in Tehran and the Iranian government for the release..

The Indian mission in Tehran remains seized of the matter and is in touch with the remaining 16 Indian crew members of the container vessel. The crew members are in good health and in contact with their family members in India,” the MEA said in a statement.

The Government of India is in touch with Iranian authorities to ensure the well-being of the remaining 16 Indian crew members..

Seafarers welfare and protection under the spotlight

In the meantime, 16 maritime industry associations and social partners (ASA, BIMCO, CLIA, ECSA, INTERCARGO, INTERMANAGER, INTERTANKO, IAPH, ICS, IFSMA, IMCA, IMEC, IPTA, ITF, FONASBA and WSC) have co-signed an open letter to António Guterres – United Nations Secretary-General requesting assistance following the seizure of the MSC Aries..

The letter calls for all member states to be reminded of their responsibilities under international law and that every possible effort be taken for the safe release of the seafarers and the safe transit of other ships..

We have seen a worrying increase in the attacks on shipping. Shipping is not a target with no victims. Innocent seafarers have been killed, seafarers are being held hostage. This would be unacceptable on land, and it is unacceptable at sea,” the letter read..

Reminding how the seafarers kept the world fed and warm during the pandemic with vital medicine, food, and fuel delivered, irrespective of politics, the letter reminded the member countries that seafarers and the maritime sector are neutral and must not be politicized..

The letter highlighted the moral duty to protect seafarers in light of the continually evolving and severe threat profile within the area and called for enhanced coordinated military presence to protect our seafarers against further possible aggression..

Seafarers have been getting a raw deal from many quarters whether it is a ship crashing into a bridge, or a ship sailing peacefully minding its own business.. It’s time for it to end..

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Hariesh Manaadiar
Hariesh Manaadiar
I am Hariesh Manaadiar, the Founder of Shipping and Freight Resource.. I have been in the dynamic shipping and freight industry for over three decades and have worked in several sectors.. I share my experiences and knowledge of the industry through this blog for those looking for help in the industry.. Stay subscribed for more free useful content about shipping, freight, maritime, logistics, supply chain and trade..


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