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Iran releases 9 Indian sailors

July 27, 2019

Iran has released nine out of the 12 Indian sailors who were on board the ship MT Riah that was detained last month. early July, official sources said Thursday.

But there are still 21 Indians in detention in Iran. Three are from the ships MT Riah and 18 from a British oil tanker Stena Impero which was seized last week by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard for alleged violation of international shipping rules.

The Indian Embassy has got access to the 18 Indians who were on board Impero. Apart from this, 24 Indian crew members, who were on board a shipping vessel Grace 1, detained by Gibraltar police authorities, are also under detention.

The boats have been seized amid ongoing tensions between Iran and the United States. They started after the Trump administration began reimposing sanctions on Iran.

Indian officials have met the 24 Indian crew members who were on board shipping vessel Grace 1 and assured them that the government will take necessary steps to ensure their release and return home.

A team of the Indian High Commission in London met the Indian crew and staff on board Grace 1. on Wednesday, Minister of State for External Affairs V Muraleedharan said.

Crew's morale is high. Assured all assistance for early release. HCI London will facilitate necessary travel document and related arrangements. - V Muraleedharan, Minister of State for External Affairs

Ministry of External Affairs Spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said that a three-member team visited and met all the 24 crew members.

"What we saw was that the crew members were very calm, very composed, and there was no sense of panic. They had been in regular touch with their family members. We had assured them that the government of India will undertake all the necessary steps to ensure their early release and repatriation," said Kumar.

The Indian government has said it will keep pushing for their early release.

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