Indian Transport & Logistics

Shipping industry seeks UN help after MSC Aries seizure

"The world would be outraged if four airlines were seized and held hostage with innocent souls onboard."

Shipping industry seeks UN help after MSC Aries seizure

Photo Credit: World Shipping Council/LinkedIn

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The global shipping industry has called upon the United Nations for enhanced coordinated military presence, missions and patrols to protect seafarers against any further possible aggression following the seizure of MSC Aries by Iranian forces, 50 nautical miles north-east of Fujairah, United Arab Emirates, on April 13, 2024.

"The incident has once again highlighted the intolerable situation where shipping has become a target. This is unacceptable," says the letter addressed to António Guterres, Secretary General, United Nations.

"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 world would be outraged if four airlines 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.

"Seafarers kept the world fed and warm during the pandemic with vital medicine, food and fuel delivered, irrespective of politics. Seafarers and the maritime sector are neutral and must not be politicised. It is the moral duty to protect seafarers.

"Shipping is a resilient industry, throughout history it has delivered trade in the face of the most overwhelming threats and circumstances.

"The industry associations ask that all member states be formally reminded of their responsibilities under international law. And we ask that all efforts possible are brought to bear to release the seafarers and protect the safe transit of ships."

The signatories include Yuichi Sonoda, Secretary General, Asian Shipowners’ Association, David Loosley, Secretary General & CEO, BIMCO, Guy Platten, Secretary General, International Chamber of Shipping and John Butler, President & CEO, World Shipping Council.

Indian seafarer returns home
Ann Tessa Joseph, a woman cadet who was among the 17 Indians onboard container vessel MSC Aries that was seized by the Iranian military, returned to Kochi on April 18, 2024.

Photo Credit: Randhir Jaiswal/@MEAIndia

The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said the Indian mission in Tehran 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 statement said.

The Indian mission is also in touch with the Iranian authorities in ensuring the well being of the remaining crew members of MSC Aries. Earlier, External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar had spoken to his Iranian counterpart Foreign Minister Amir Abdollahian on the matter, MEA said in its statement.

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