The Republic of Cyprus is currently taking all relevant diplomatic action to bring an end to the hostage taking of two Greek vessels and their crew – among them a Cypriot national – captured by Iran on Friday, deputy shipping minister Vassilis Demetriades said on Monday.
Speaking to the CyBC on Monday, he said the Cypriot captain is in excellent health as is the rest of the crew and that his ministry, along with the ministry of foreign affairs is taking relevant action.
“We are making efforts and taking steps towards the Iranian embassy aiming at the immediate ending of the hostage taking of the crew of the two Greek vessels seized last Friday by the Guards of the Revolution,” Demetriades said.
According to the foreign ministry’s spokesman, the ministry has been in contact with the captain’s wife since Friday who said her husband is in good health and that she was in contact with him on Saturday and Sunday.
“The vessel has been taken hostage with the crew held inside,” foreign ministry spokesman Demetris Demetriou told Alpha television.
“Their cell phones were confiscated but were ultimately returned. There is some communication ability… It’s important that there is communication as it provides us with a picture of what is happening,” Demetriou added.
According to Iranian authorities, the crew is not being held hostage and everyone onboard is in good health. The captain’s wife also affirmed that her husband is in good health.
“Cyprus’ ambassador in Tehran is in contact the Iranian foreign ministry and taking the necessary steps, and may even be allowed to visit the vessel, while at the same time, on a central level, our ministry is in contact with the Iranian ambassador in Cyprus,” Demetriou said.
The Greek and Cypriot foreign ministries are coordinating over the matter.
“In a telephone conversation with Cyprus’ Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides, we discussed coordination between Greece and Cyprus on a wide range of issues, including the issue of the seizure of two Greek ships in the Gulf,” Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias said in a Twitter post.
Commenting on the possibility of a similar incident repeating itself given that other vessels with a Greek or Cypriot flag may be operating in the area, earlier Demetriou said, “I have no picture as to the maritime activity in the area, it is a possibility, however I have no information as to the existence of Cypriot flagged vessels in that area.”
The two seized vessels were anchored at Hormuz straits but according to the ministry of foreign affairs were moved to another position in the same area as of Sunday. Maritime traffic data currently indicates their Friday position.