Kerala CM asks MEA to secure release of Indians onboard seized British vessel

Pinarayi Vijayan. (File)

A day after Iran claimed it had seized a British oil tanker with 18 Indians onboard, Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan wrote a letter to Minister of External Affairs S Jaishankar, urging him to take all possible action to secure the safe release of the Indian nationals, including four Keralites.

In a letter to Jaishankar, Vijayan asked the ministry to share the details of the persons aboard the ship so that their families could be helped, PTI reported.

"I request that all possible efforts to ensure the safety of the crew be made and the relevant details of persons may be shared with the state government so that their family members can be contacted and we can be of help in their hour of crisis," Vijayan wrote.

"Media reports have indicated that the crew of the British tanker seized by Iran includes 4 Malayalis. Following this, CM Pinarayi Vijayan has contacted the Union Government. He has also sent a message to Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, the Minister of External Affairs GoI," the Kerala CMO tweeted.

Iran said it had seized the Stena Impero British oil tanker in the Strait of Hormuz Friday after it collided with an Iranian fishing boat. The country claimed the British vessel failed to respond to the boat s distress call . Iran claimed that there were 18 Indians among the 23 people on board the oil tanker.

Read | Indian mission in touch with Iran: MEA on claims of 18 in custody onboard British vessel

Congress MP Hibi Eden, representing Ernakulam constituency, also sought urgent intervention of the Central government for the release of the Indian nationals.

Minister of State for External Affairs V Muraleedharan had said on Saturday diplomatic efforts were on to secure the release of Indian nationals on board the tanker. "We are waiting for a response from Iranian authorities," Muraleedharan said.

The MEA had said it was in touch with Iran to secure the release of the Indians. "We are ascertaining further details on the incident. Our Mission is in touch with the Government of Iran to secure the early release and repatriation of Indian nationals," ANI quoted External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Raveesh Kumar as saying.