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Iran says seized Israel-linked ship broke maritime law

There are 17 Indians among 25 crew onboard the cargo vessel seized by Iran.

iran 1IRAN: Iran said Monday that the Israel-linked ship it seized on the weekend had violated international maritime law and was undergoing “necessary investigations”.

Iranian special forces captured the ship on Saturday off the coast of the United Arab Emirates, hours before Tehran launched an attack on Tel Aviv. There are 17 Indians among 25 crew onboard the cargo vessel.

According to the BBC, the Portuguese-flagged ship is linked to Israeli billionaire Eyal Ofer. The ship is managed by MSC, which leases the vessel from Gortal Shipping Inc – a company affiliated with Mr Ofer’s Zodiac Maritime.

BBC also reported that officials from India may soon be able to meet crew from the country.

Iranian authorities had previously offered little information about why the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps seized the ship MSC Aries ship near the Strait of Hormuz on Saturday.

“The ship was directed into the territorial waters of Iran because it violated international maritime laws,” foreign ministry spokesman Nasser Kanani said.

The ship’s crew failed to “adequately respond to questions from Iranian authorities,” he told a briefing.

“It is certain that this ship belongs to the Zionist regime,” Kanani added, referring to Israel.

The ship’s seizure took place hours before Iran launched its first-ever direct attack on Israel, launching hundreds of drones and missiles which the Israeli military said were nearly all intercepted.

The attack was in response to a strike on the Iranian consulate in Damascus on April 1 which killed seven Revolutionary Guards including two generals — and was widely blamed on Israel.

Israel and the United States have denounced the seizure of the ship as an act of “piracy”. Israel has also demanded that the Guards be declared a “terrorist organisation” by the European Union.

Regional tensions have soared since war broke out more than six months ago between Israel and Palestinian militants Hamas in Gaza.

Iran has supported Hamas, but repeatedly denied direct involvement in the Palestinian group’s October 7 attack on Israel that started the war.

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