Pinarayi Vijayan appeals to Centre to secure release of Indians onboard seized British tanker
Thiruvananthapuram/Kochi: Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan Sunday urged the Centre to take all possible efforts to secure the release of Indian nationals including four Keralites on board a British-flagged oil tanker seized by the Gulf country in the Strait of Hormuz.
In a letter to External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar, he asked the ministry to share the details of the persons aboard the ship so that their families could be helped.
"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," Pinarayi Vijayan said in the letter, the copy of which was released to the media here.
Congress MP Hibi Eden, representing Ernakulam constituency, also sought urgent intervention of the Central government for release of the Indian nationals.
Eden visited the family of Dijo Pappachan, a crew member on board the seized tanker, here.
Family of Pappachan hailing from Kalamassery here said the tanker owners have informed them that Dijo was onboard the seized oil tanker.
Asked about the reports that two more people from Ernakulam district were among the crew, Eden said there was no official information so far.
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 response from Iranian authorities," Muraleedharan had told reporters in Kuthiran in Thrissur district Saturday evening.
India had said Saturday that it was in touch with Iran to secure release of the Indians on board the British-flagged oil tanker seized by the Gulf country in the Strait of Hormuz.
"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," External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Raveesh Kumar had said in response to a question on the detention of Indian crew members along with the oil tanker Stena Impero by Iranian authorities.
According to a media report, 18 Indian nationals are among the 23 crew members of the British-flagged oil tanker seized by Iran amid fresh escalation of tensions in the Gulf region.
The Stena Impero was seized on Friday by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard.
Iran's seizure of a British-flagged oil tanker was allegedly due to a collision with an Iranian fishing boat, Iran's official news agency IRNA had said.
"There are 18 Indian and five crew members from Russia, the Philippines, Latvia and other countries on board of Stena Impero. The captain is Indian, but the tanker is UK-flagged," the news agency quoted Allahmorad Afifipour, director general of Ports and Maritime Affairs of Hormuzgan province, as saying.