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Six Keralites on board two ships seized by Britain and Iran safe, efforts on to free them

6 Keralites on board two ships seized by Britain and Iran safe, efforts on to free them
(Left to Right) Dijo Pappachan, P Prajith, Rajin, KK Ajmal. Photo: Facebook

New Delhi: External affairs ministry is making all efforts to ensure the safe release of Indians, including six Keralites, who are on board two ships seized by Britain and Iran this month as the standoff between the two countries escalated.

Iran’s oil-carrying vessel, Grace 1, was seized by Britain near Gibraltar on July 4 while British-flagged oil tanker, Stena Impero, was captured by Iran at the Strait of Hormuz on Friday. According to media reports, both the vessels have three Keralites each on board.

Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Sunday urged the Centre to take all efforts to secure the release of Indian nationals, including the Keralites on board the ships.

External affairs ministry has said that efforts are on to release the Indians on the ships. All three Keralites on the British ship are from Ernakulam district. One among them was identified as Dijo Pappachan (26) of Kalamassery in Kochi. The other two are from Fort Kochi and Thrippunithura. Their names and other details were not immediately known. The Fort Kochi native is said to be the captain of the vessel.

Third engineer P Prajith (33) of Kasaragod, junior officer K K Ajmal (27) of Wandoor in Malappuram and second officer Rejin (40) of Guruvayur in Thrissur district are aboard the Iranian vessel, Grace 1.

The British vessel’s Sweden-based owner, Stena Bulk’s officials from the Mumbai office had called Dijo’s house on Saturday morning, and assured the family members that there was no cause of concern. The officials said that they were in contact with the crew and there was no room for worry.

6 Keralites on board two ships seized by Britain and Iran safe, efforts on to free them
Stena Impero, a British-flagged vessel owned by Stena Bulk, is seen at Bander Abass port, in this undated handout photo. Photo: Tasnim News Agency/Handout via REUTERS

Dijo, who had completed BSc in hotel management, works as the mess man on the ship. He had boarded the ship from Gujarat on July 18. Dijo had called his family members around 10.30am on Friday. He told them that he was on the Iran coast and that the ship would next head to Saudi Arabia.

(With inputs from agencies)

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