Indian Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale has met Iranian envoy Ali Chegeni as part of the government’s efforts to secure the release of 18 Indians onboard a British oil tanker seized by Iran.
23 people were onboard the British oil tanker Impero seized last week by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard in the Strait of Hormuz for what Tehran called alleged violation of international maritime rules. Iran’s state-run IRNA news agency said the tanker was seized after it collided with a fishing boat and failed to respond to calls from the smaller craft.
The incident came days after an Iranian oil supertanker, Grace 1, was seized off the Spanish coast earlier this month by British marines and Gibraltar police. Four of the ship’s Indian crew members were arrested by the Royal Gibraltar Police (RGP).
Minister of State in the External Affairs Ministry V Muraleedharan said that the High commission in London was granted consular access to the Indian crewmembers of Grace-1 and a team interacted with them. He added that the Indian Ambassador in Tehran also held a positive meeting on the issue with senior officials of Iranian foreign ministry.
“Efforts on to secure early release of Indian crew of Stena Impero. FS (Foreign Secretary) met Iranian Ambassador in Delhi yesterday. Indian Ambassador in Tehran also had a positive meeting with senior officials of Iranian MFA,” Muraleedharan tweeted.