India urges Houthis to release 7 Indians on board seized ship

India on Tuesday said it is making all efforts to secure the early release of seven Indians who were part of the crew of a UAE-flagged ship that was seized by Houthi rebels on January 2, and urged the Houthis to release the men immediately.

India on Tuesday said it is making all efforts to secure the early release of seven Indians who were part of the crew of a UAE-flagged ship that was seized by Houthi rebels on January 2, and urged the Houthis to release the men immediately.

India also said it is concerned at the recent intensification of fighting in Yemen and hoped that all parties come to the negotiating table to find a peaceful resolution to the Yemen issue.

Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Arindam Bagchi in a statement said that India is in touch with the company operating the ship and understands that the Indians are safe.

“Government of India has been closely monitoring developments following the seizure of the UAE flagged ship Rwabee off the port of Hodeidah (Yemen) by the Houthis on January 2, 2022.

“We are in touch with the company operating the ship and have been informed that out of the 11 crew members on board the ship, seven are from India.

“We also understand from the company and other sources that all Indian crew members are safe.

“Government of India is making all efforts to secure their early release.

“We urge the Houthis to ensure the safety and well-being of the crew members and release them immediately.

“India is concerned at the recent intensification of fighting in Yemen and hopes that all parties will come to the negotiating table to find a peaceful resolution to the Yemen issue,” the statement said.

On Monday, the UAE government called for the release of the ship Rwabee and its crew, which were hijacked by the Iran-backed Houthi militia.

A letter to the UN Security Council signed by Ambassador Lana Nusseibeh, said the ship was carrying medical equipment for a field hospital on Socotra Island.

It added that 11 people of different nationalities are onboard Rwabee.

The letter stated that the Houthis had previously targeted at least 13 commercial ships with explosive-laden boats and mines and had hijacked at least three in the Red Sea.

The UAE delegate emphasized that Houthi piracy raises real concerns for the freedom and security of navigation and international trade in the Red Sea.

Rwabee was hijacked by the Houthis on the night of January 3, 25 nautical miles west of the Yemeni ports of Salif and Hodeidah.

The ship was on its way from Socotra Island in Yemen to the port of Jazan in Saudi Arabia, carrying equipment leased by a Saudi company used in a field hospital on the island, the letter said.

Onboard were seven Indian sailors, an Ethiopian, and Indonesian, a Filipino, and a sailor from Myanmar.

The UAE took its seat on the UN Security Council on January 1 along with Albania, Brazil, Gabon and Ghana.

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