Iran to Finally Release Crew of the MSC Aries

Containers of a ship as viewed from the bridge
Updated Published

ran's foreign minister announced over the weekend that the crew of the MSC Aries, a container ship with a capacity of 15,000 TEU, will soon be released. The ship, which is linked to Israel and carries 25 crew members, was seized on April 13 by Iran’s Revolutionary Guards shortly before Iran initiated a missile attack on Israel.

The vessel is presently moored alongside three other ships that Iran has captured in recent times.

Global shipping associations recently addressed the challenges faced by seafarers in captivity through an open letter to the United Nations Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres.

The letter from 16 shipping organizations expressed, “The world would be outraged if four airliners were seized and held hostage with innocent souls onboard. Regrettably, there does not seem to be the same response or concern for the four commercial vessels and their crews being held hostage.”

Additionally, the NYK-operated car carrier Galaxy Leader continues to be detained in Yemeni waters after being hijacked by the Houthis six months ago, while Somali pirates off the Horn of Africa have restarted their kidnapping for ransom schemes, seizing two ships in recent times.

The letter cautioned, “Innocent seafarers have been killed, seafarers are being held hostage. This would be unacceptable on land, and it is unacceptable at sea.” 

It urged the UN to establish a more robust coordinated military presence in the region, along with missions and patrols, to secure the release of numerous seafarers currently held captive in the Middle East.